Platelets are, of course, a very important component of our blood. Without them, we would not be able to survive. Just like white and red blood cells, platelets have an extremely crucial role to play in our blood.
That being said, just like everything else in this world, the quantity of the platelets in our blood is also important. Having either too many of them or not enough platelets can have some pretty serious ramifications, potentially life-threatening ones.
That being said, there is a normal range in terms of the platelet count in individual bodies. So, do platelet counts fluctuate?
Do platelet counts fluctuate?
The short answer to that question is yes, platelet counts do fluctuate and they can do so quite widely. There are several different factors which can contribute to the variation of the number of platelets in our blood.
Now, the normal range of platelets in the human body is between 150,000 and 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood in your body. This is the standard, but as you can tell, there is a pretty big difference there of 300,000 platelets per microliter.
Some people are deemed healthy with only 150,000 platelets and some are healthy with 450,000. As long as you stay within that range, you know that you are perfectly healthy platelet wise.
There are things which can cause this platelet count to fluctuate. What you do need to know is that anything above 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood can be quite dangerous.
On that same note, anything under 150,000 per microliter of blood can be just as dangerous, if not much more dangerous.
If your platelets go above 450,000, especially over 500,000, it can cause your blood to clot inside of your body, even when it is not supposed to. This can cause blood clots to form inside of your veins and arteries, causing blockages, strokes, and other potentially lethal events.
This is less common than a low platelet count, which is referred to as thrombocytopenia. A low platelet count, which is anything under 150,000 is fairly dangerous, but when the count drops below 50,000, or even below 20,000 platelets per microliter of blood, is when you have a problem.
However, as we said, even in healthy individuals the count of platelets can vary between 150,000 and 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood.
What causes fluctuations in healthy individuals
Fear not because a fluctuating platelet count can mean a lot of different things. Besides the classic disorders like thrombocytopenia, which can be caused by a number of things, the platelet count in your body can fluctuate for simple and mundane reasons, just things in your everyday life. Let’s go over some of the things that can cause these fluctuations to occur in a healthy individual.
One of the things that can cause fluctuations in platelet counts is the food you eat. You might be otherwise healthy, but not having a balanced diet with the right vitamins can have a pretty big impact on the platelet count in your body. Your body requires certain vitamins and minerals to produce these platelets in an efficient manner.
You need things like vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin K, calcium, iron, and zinc in order to produce enough platelets. Having a deficiency in any of these vitamins can cause a decreased platelet count. On the other hand, having way too much of any of those vitamins or minerals in your system can cause your platelet count to increase.
Drugs and alcohol
Another factor which can contribute to a fluctuating platelet count is drugs and alcohol. Now, we are talking within reason here; we are not talking about an alcoholic or a drug addict, but someone who drinks or engages in recreational use on an occasional basis.
Various drugs and alcohol can kill off platelets while also slowing down their production. So, for instance, if you went from smoking a pack of cigarettes per day and drinking a 6 pack to drinking and smoking nothing at all, you are more than likely to see your platelet count increase. This is also true in the other direction as well.
Yet another factor that can cause your platelet count to fluctuate is sleep. Sleep is important for so many different processes in the human body. Creating platelets is one of these functions. Simply put, your body operates and functions much better when you get the required amount of sleep.
Usually, most people need around 8 hours of sleep per day, give or take an hour, for the body to engage in normal functions. If you do not get enough sleep, your body will not be able to create as many platelets as it should. If you are sleep deprived for a while, you might suffer from a decreasing platelet count. However, when you finally manage to catch up on that sleep, the platelet count in your body should rise again.
Something else that can cause your platelet count to fluctuate is the level of stress your body is under. Now, this can very well be mental stress. Many people discount mental stress as having an effect on the physical side of things, but this is just not so.
A high level of mental stress can lead to decreased platelet counts, while a low level of stress can cause platelet counts to increase. This is also true for physical stress. If you are suffering from some kind of bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, as well as from other afflictions, it may very well cause the number of platelets in your blood to decrease, but they then regenerate once you are well again.
At the end of the day, as long as your platelets do not rise above 450,000, or drop below 150,000 platelets per microliter of blood, you will be just fine. A fluctuating platelet count does not mean that you are ill.