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Jun 2023

All you need to know about low platelet counts

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Jun 10, 2023

Platelets are also known as thrombocytes which are blood elements that help in blood clotting. These components are the body’s natural mechanism to stop bleeding. Many factors can affect the platelet counts including age and disorders.

A low platelet level may be a sign of infections and diseases including cancer. This is why you should check yourself with a platelet count test regularly to avoid unwanted health conditions.

What are the functions of platelets?

Platelets are the blood components that help to stop bleeding during an injury. At the time of bleeding, the platelets will combine together and seal the blood vessel which is known as clotting. This clotting helps to prevent excessive blood loss during injuries.

What is the normal platelet count?

The normal range of platelet counts for adults is between 150000 to 450000 per microlitre of blood. A platelet count lower than 150000 and higher than 450000 is considered as a platelet condition.

What can cause high platelet count?

The largest cells in our bone marrow produce platelets, but abnormal cells in the bone marrow can cause high platelet count. However, the exact cause of abnormal cell formation is not known.

What can happen when the platelet count is too high?

If the platelet count is too high, it will combine together and will cause unnecessary blood clots in the blood vessels that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

What can cause low platelet count?

The common causes of low platelet counts are:

  • Viral infection (hepatitis C, HIV)
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Bone marrow disease
  • Chemical exposure
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Side effect of certain medications
  • Too much alcohol consumption

What happens when the platelet count is too low?

If you have low platelet counts, then you lose excessive blood at time of injury. This could lead to hemorrhage and internal bleeding which can be life-threatening.

What are the symptoms of platelet count?

The common symptoms of low platelet counts may include:

  • Continuous bleeding in small injuries
  • Bleeding gums
  • Nosebleed
  • Blood in urine
  • Blood in stool
  • Easy bruising
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Swelling in legs

What tests are done to detect low platelet levels?

There are mainly two blood tests that are done to measure platelets in the blood, such as:

  • Platelet count test: A blood sample is required for this test. This test will help to identify how much platelets are present in the bloodstream. The platelet count test price is only 150 rupees.
  • Complete blood count: While the platelet count test only measures the platelet level, a complete blood count helps to measure all the essential blood component levels in your blood. A complete blood count tests price starting from Rs. 300 only (this test includes 24 parameters).

How can you increase your platelet count?

There are multiple medical treatments available to increase the platelet counts. However, you can easily increase the platelet counts through eating certain foods.

What foods should you eat to increase platelets count?

  • Vitamin C rich foods: Vitamin c helps to improve your immune system and platelet functionalities. It also helps our body to absorb iron well, which is essential for a healthy platelet count. You can eat strawberries, kiwis, brocolis, brussel sprouts, and any citrus fruits.
  • Vitamin D rich foods: According to a study, vitamin d helps in the proper function of bone marrow cells which produce platelets. The best source of vitamin d is sunlight. Egg yolk, oily fish, fish liver oil, mushrooms, fortified yogurt, fortified juices and cereals are great sources of vitamin D.
  • Vitamin B12 rich foods: Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient for the production of red blood cells, and low vitamin B12 levels can lead to low platelet counts as well. Beef, beef liver, eggs, salmon, clams, tuna, fortified cereals and dairy products are good sources of vitamin B12.
  • Folate rich foods: Folate and folic acid (which is the synthetic form of folate) are an essential nutrient for healthy blood cells. You can eat beef liver, black eyed peas, and leafy green vegetables to increase the platelet count.

Certain studies have found that certain foods can decrease the platelet counts, such as cranberry juice and artificial sweeteners. Even after changing your diet your platelet counts are not increased then your doctor would ask you to take certain medications.