Platelets are minute blood cells that help the body in clot formation and to stop the bleeding. If one of your vessels gets injured, it sends out signs that are selected up by platelets. These platelets then hurry into the location of the damaged part and form a plug, to repair the damage.
The process of the spreading across the damaged vessels to stop the bleeding is known as the adhesion. It is due to when these platelets get to the site of the injury; they grow tentacles that enables them to adhere. Platelets also send out signals that attract more platelet to mound into the clot in the process of aggregation.
Facts about Platelets
Platelets are made in the bone marrow along with the red and white cells. The bone marrow is the spongy center inside the bones. Another name for platelets is thrombocytes. Medical professionals often called the clot as a thrombus. Once the platelets are circulated and made into the bloodstream, they live for 8 to 10 days. See more facts here
With the use of a microscope, these platelets look like a tiny plate. Healthcare provider may perform a blood test called a complete blood count (CBC) to find out if the bone marrow is producing the right amount of platelets.
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A usual platelet count ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets for every microliter of blood. In the case of spontaneous bleeding progresses, if the platelet count falls under 10,000 to 20,000. However, when the platelet count is less than 50,000, the bleeding is more serious if a person is bruised or cut. Some people may have too high platelets and can have a platelet count that ranges from 500,000 to more than 1 million.
High and Low Platelet Count
Medical conditions associated with too high and too low platelet count are as follows:
- Thrombocytopenia – with this disorder, the bone marrow produces too few platelets, or the platelets are destroyed. If the platelet counts are too low, the bleeding can occur in the skin as bruising inside the body. This disorder can be caused by several conditions such as kidney disease, cancer, pregnancy, infections and an abnormality in the immune system.
- Thrombocythemia – in this condition, the bone marrow generates too many platelets. People with this condition may have platelet counts that go beyond a million. Symptoms include blood clotting and block blood supply to the heart or brain. The cause of this condition is unknown.
- Thrombocytosis – this another condition is caused by too many platelets, but the number of platelets does not get high as the thrombocythemia. In the case of thrombocytosis, it is not caused by abnormal bone marrow. As an alternative, the cause of the condition is another illness in the body which stimulates the bone marrow to produce more platelets. Causes include some types of cancer, inflammation, infection, and reactions to medicines. When it comes to the symptoms of the condition, they are not serious, and when the underlying condition gets better, the platelet count goes back to normal.
- Platelet dysfunction – when it comes to the condition of too many platelets, there are many rarer diseases associated with it. Platelet dysfunction happens when the number of platelets is normal, but the platelet is not working normally. Some medicines like aspirin can constrain the normal function of the platelet. It is therefore important to know which medicines may affect the normal functioning of your platelet. Some medicines have the risk of increasing the bleeding.
Platelets are tiny cells in the blood, but they are very important in helping the body control bleeding. If you have symptoms like bruising, frequent nosebleeds or a cut that keeps bleeding, let the healthcare professional know. A simple blood test is also important to find out if your platelet is normal.
Thrombocytes, another name for platelet is not a true cell but merely circulating fragments of the cells. Although platelets are only cell fragments, they contain different constructions that are important in stopping the bleeding. They also contain proteins on its surface which allow them to stick to the breaks in the blood vessel wall.
Platelets also contain granules that can secrete other proteins required in creating proteins that are similar to muscle proteins allowing them to change its shape when they become sticky. Platelet looks like an octopus with long tentacles extending to reach out with the other platelets or with the broken blood vessels. Platelets form a plug to seal all the broken blood vessels with the help of the long filaments.
As an addition to being the smallest blood cell, platelet is also known for its lightness. So, they are being pushed out from the center of the blood flowing to the wall of the blood vessel. There the platelets roll along the surface of the walls, which is also lined by cells which are called as the endothelium.
Endothelium, a very special surface, like the Teflon, which help prevents anything from sticking to it. But, when there are cut or injury, the tough fibers that border the blood vessel are exposed to the flowing liquid. It the platelets that first react to the injury. The tough fibers that surround the blood vessel attract the platelets and stimulate the shape change.
When it comes to the most typical disorder of the platelet, the typical disorder is caused by aspirin. Aspirin blocks the step required for these platelets to stick together. The effect of the aspirin is what makes it as an effective treatment for patients who are suffering from a disorder of thrombosis or blood clotting. For example, if a person is brought to the hospital due to heart attack, it will be immediately given an aspirin. Aspirin prevents the clotting, but it doesn’t paralyze the platelet. Thus, many people are taking aspirin daily and have no problems regarding bleeding. On the other hand, aspirin can be dangerous in patients who have the risk for bleeding, such as patients with hemophilia or those who have low platelet count.
What happens to people with too many Platelets?
This rare conditions may result due to the bone marrow that are producing too many platelets and sometimes it produces one or two million per microliter. Some of the patients are seen with an increased risk for the blood clots, but many of them are with these disorders have no issues.
Interesting read: Can platelet count fluctuate – Here’s The answer
What happens with people with too few platelets?
Disorder with very low platelet counts is called thrombocytopenias. This term is derived from the old name for platelets, “thrombocytes.” The name describes the platelets as the cells which help for blood clotting or thrombosis. The word “penia” refers to few cells.
This condition is generally caused by the failure of the bone marrow in producing normal numbers of platelets. The failure of the bone marrow has multiple causes. Thrombocytopenia can also due to increased destruction of the platelets once they are released and produced into the blood.
Treatment and Prevention
If you want to know your platelet count, you need to seek a doctor to perform a blood test. Doctors are diagnosing platelet conditions by taking blood samples and doing a blood test, examining the body for bruises, pressing the abdomen to check for the spleen or liver enlargement and skin bleeding signs. Alcohol also depresses the production of platelets.
The thrombocytosis poses a crucial threat, so doctors take all the important details such as medical histories, health and age risks. Cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and age risks; therefore, people should manage their health conditions and quit smoking.
Platelets Blood Test
Platelet blood test is just a part of the complete blood count, which is a section of test done as a part of the medical examination. Furthermore, the test can also be used to monitor the underlying conditions and the drugs known to affect the normal platelet count.
It is also used to monitor the patients under a specific treatment for any platelet disorder to determine the appropriate therapy for the patient. A platelet count may also be performed together with another diagnostic procedure, especially with the test that involves the determination of the functionality of the platelet. If results are found not to be within the normal number of platelets, some tests may be added to determine the factors or the cause.
- Easy or unexplained Bruising
While bruising may seem to be a simple condition, it could still be a sign of a low platelet count. If this continues to develop, then it is time for you to see the doctor and get some helpful advice. The doctor may send you for a blood test to know your platelet count and may also suggest having a continues monitoring of your blood count until all the findings are cleared.
- Prolonged Bleeding
If you always find yourself difficult in stopping a small scratch or cut from bleeding, then this may be a sign of a low platelet count. There are some cases where this condition persists. So, it is important to know your platelet count through a blood test. If the doctor finds out that your platelet count is too low, then regular monitoring of your platelet count is important.
- Frequent Nosebleeds
While everyone is experiencing nosebleed from time to time, it is without harm. If you are experiencing nosebleeds often without any reason, then you should visit the doctor and have your platelet checked. If the results show that your platelet count is too low, you need to monitor your platelet until it returns to normal regularly.
- Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Are you one of those females who is having a normal menstrual flow? While some are having their normal flow, there are some menstrual bleeding that is severe. If this situation happens all the time, it can be very alarming. If you are experiencing this situation, it’s about time to have your platelet count checked. Keeping monitoring onset, frequency and volume will be useful.
- Red spots on the skin
It is a small purple or red-colored spot on the skin due to minor hemorrhage or fragmented capillary blood vessels. Petechiae talks about the three types of bleeding in the skin which is based on size, the other two being ecchymosis and purpura.
- Bone Marrow Disease
Another purpose of the platelet test is to determine the bone marrow’s functionality. It is the body’s manufacturing center for the red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells. It is also a soft tissue located inside the deep shafts of bones such as the hip bone or middle of the chest. Platelets are also known as the thrombocytes; a cytoplasm fragments with a very large cell seen in bone marrow.
- Excessive Blood Clotting
This disorder is a condition where there is an increased potential for unsuitable blood clot formation and also referred to as thrombophilia. It is the condition where a individual to develop blood clot formation in different parts of the body. The disorder may also be caused by genes passed from parent to offspring and a condition which a person acquired.
- A platelet blood test is also done even when you are already diagnosed with high platelet count. Too many platelet counts can cause excessive clotting or even bleed for the platelets in your body are not working properly. The increase in your platelet can be determined when a blood test is done as part of other reasons or your medical examination.
Thrombocytes, another name for platelet, plays a very vital role in the human body, helping it to stop the flow of blood caused by wounds and injuries. If they are out of balance, there would be serious health problems which slow the healing or wound or accelerate production. While many conditions regarding platelets are easy to treat, others may lead to serious health problems that can be a threat to human life. Thus, these tiny cells work together to fix an injured or wounded body. Platelets are tiny cells in your body yet they are responsible for many functions in keeping your body healthy.