Platelet is a component of the blood which is responsible for clotting everytime the body gets wounded. It is also called thrombocytes. This element has no nucleus. Instead, they are formed from the megakaryocytes which reside in the bone marrow. They receive signals everytime the person gets cut, and they react to it by building a clot.
Platelets play a vital role in the homeostasis, a process that prevents bleeding. They can plug the hole caused by the cut until the wound is totally healed. From being in a disk shape, they will transform into a substance with tentacles and gather into the affected area to control bleeding. Without them, the body can lose blood when injured.
The bone marrow should produce platelets for a lifetime. However, some illnesses may affect the process. Sometimes, the number of platelets can increase too much, and in some cases, the production can be deficient. As a result, the person can bleed excessively. If it happens, he should need a platelet transfusion to replace these lost substances from his body.
Due to the benefits that platelets can provide, the demand is also growing. Many accidents happen every second, and some of the victims need a platelet transfusion. Even certain diseases may also need a platelet transfusion to save the life of the person.
Inside the body, the platelets only have an average lifespan between eight to ten days. Therefore, the bone marrow should reproduce new ones to replace them. If this bone marrow cannot sustain the production, the body will have a low platelet count.
In blood donation, the platelets that have been collected from the donor should be used within five days. It is the reason why the blood centers have a short supply. The collected platelets cannot sustain the growing number of recipients who need these elements. Aside from that, a few people are only eligible to donate.
The platelets are stored at a temperature between 20 to 24 degrees Celsius or equivalent to 68 to 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit. The collected substance is placed in a secure environment wherein a bacteria cannot attack it. The storage is also designed to preserve the platelet until it is ready to be transfused.
Up to now, there is no machine yet that is designed to lengthen the lifespan of platelets. Even if the required temperature of the storage area is met, the platelets still lose their potency after five days.
Factors affecting the lifespan of platelets
Several studies have been conducted to find out why the platelet has a short life. Aside from the infection that might attack it before it grows and develops, there are also specific factors that influence its life length.
Certain diseases like bone cancer or leukemia can damage the bone marrow. Its production capability can also be reduced if the patient is undergoing chemotherapy. In this kind of treatment, the radiation and medicine being used in chemo can damage the bones as well as various cells inside the body.
So, no matter how hard the bone marrow exert an effort to produce enough platelets, they can get damaged before they get mature. Therefore, the lifespan of the platelets can be reduced due to the defective bone marrow.
The infections, parasites, and a virus that enter the body can also damage the platelets. If the antibodies can’t eliminate them as soon as they invade the body, they can reside in the tissues and attack the platelets. They can also destroy the shape of the platelets resulting in the abnormal growth.
The platelets can be consumed by the viruses faster than they are being manufactured. Therefore, it leads to an imbalance of production. Diseases like HIV and AIDS can be the cause of this problem.
Another factor that affects the life length of platelets is the age of the person. People may encounter some illnesses as they become older. The body’s capability and functionality are affected, and sometimes it becomes weak.
Therefore, as the body gets older, its performance to reach the 10-day lifespan also decreases. It is because the bone also becomes weaker as the age of the person increases. As a result, the bone marrow will have difficulty in producing enough platelets.
Even the food habits of the person are something to be blamed. You may notice that people who always eat unhealthy meals are those who are often attacked by illnesses. You may be aware that many foods have a lot of preservatives and some of them are sprayed with chemicals. These substances can cause damage to the cells.
It is essential to eat foods rich in iron, zinc, and B-vitamins to help the body fight the infections that can attack the cells. It can also help in the proper production of platelets and other blood cells. In addition, a healthy lifestyle can help the person in keeping his body maintain its excellent condition.
Many environmental factors can also be a cause of the destruction of platelets and other blood cells. We are aware that pollution is a big problem of the world. Chemicals that circulate in the air are significant contributors of the damage of our cells, including platelets. They can enter our body and attack the elements that reside in it.
If a person has a disease, his medical condition can result in the unstable production of platelets. It is difficult for the body to keep up with enough amount of these elements. Some platelets can die together with the other cells. Some of them are successfully produced by the bone marrow but can get damaged before they circulate through the body. It means that they die before the 10th day of their lives.
Low production of platelets can lead to thrombocytopenia. Because of it, the patient can suffer from serious medical problems. Some may result in excessive bleeding. If it occurs, more fluids come out from the body. The platelets, together with other components of the blood, will also flow out.
In bleeding, the patient is more likely to need a blood transfusion. It can also be given to the victims of accidents and injury. A blood transfusion can be beneficial to save the life of many humans. However, it can also provide a negative impact on the lifespan of platelets.
In blood transfusion, the body of the recipient will receive foreign blood. There is a possibility that the other elements in the body will react to it. As a result, the life length of platelets will also change.
In some cases, the body may also create abnormal cells. If it happens, the platelets and its life cycle can also be affected. These abnormal platelets do not develop to become mature. This accumulation occurs most of the time inside the bone marrow or around its surface.
If a person suffers from congenital thrombocytopenia, his platelets are also not developing well. It is a rare disease and is inherited from the parents. In this condition, the bone marrow is failing to produce enough platelets. This problem starts from birth and continues until the person grows older. This condition is hard to treat since it is inherited.
It can cause a severe reduction of platelet count, and can also be fatal if not managed well. It does not only affect the platelets alone, but it can also reduce the number of red blood cells in the body.
How to lengthen the lifespan of platelets
Several methods can be done to increase the lifespan of our platelets. While some causes of the decrease in its production can’t be treated easily, there are many things you can do to prevent this problem. We should start the changes to ourselves.
Practicing a healthy lifestyle is one effective way that can combat not just the shortage of platelets in the body, but it can also help us prevent diseases from occurring. We have mentioned that the short life of platelet can be due to certain conditions. Therefore, we have to find ways to at least prevent them.
Practice a healthy lifestyle
We all know that vices like smoking and alcoholic drinks can harm our body. They are culprits when it comes to the production of cells in the body, and not just of platelets alone. Smoking can also cause cancer, and the complications brought by this disease can shorten the production of platelets.
Exercising regularly is also another way to boost our health. It does not have a direct impact on the platelets. However, it is a way to keep our body in excellent condition. If we do so, we are able to protect ourselves from illnesses as well as make our body healthy. It strengthens our immune system which is one way to eliminate the foreign agents that harm our cells.
Do not underestimate the power that the foods can give. By eating a nutritious meal, you can get yourself protected from various diseases that destroy our platelets. Thankfully, there are also foods that can boost the production of the platelets in our body. By consuming the following minerals, your body can cope up with the demand of production of platelets.
Calcium is a mineral that strengthens our bones. Since the platelets are produced in the bone marrow, this substance can protect this part from getting damaged easily. If it is in excellent condition, it can generate enough amount of platelets as well. We can get calcium by drinking a glass of milk when we wake up in the morning and before we sleep at night.
Vitamin K is an essential factor that helps in blood clotting and maintains the health of our bones. We can get it from spinach, parsley, kale, and watercress.
In some cases, the body can create enough amount of platelets. However, they can get damaged before they circulate in the body. So, to prevent it from happening, you can make a papaya leaf extract which you can drink twice a day. Just boil the papaya leaf in ½ cup boiling water, simmer, and let cool. It is known to boost your platelet count in a natural way.
Vitamin A-rich foods
We all know that vitamin A keeps our eyesight in proper condition. But it is also amazing to know that this element can aid in the adequate production of platelets. It contributes to the synthesis of platelets and produces the healthy ones. It also prevents the manufacture of abnormal cells. To avail its healthful benefits, you must eat sweet potatoes, carrots, and kale.
Folate is also called vitamin B9. It is a vital element that also prevents the production of abnormal platelets. Therefore, it does not only produce enough amount of them, but it also aids in their proper development and growth.
If you have been pregnant before, you will notice that your doctor prescribed a folate vitamin. It is because this mineral can also help in the proper formation and development of a fetus. Folate can come from spinach fortified cereals, beans, and raisins.
Since platelets’ primary function is to promote proper blood clotting, we need Vitamin K to achieve this one. This substance can regulate the formation of a clot and activate the proteins inside our body. You, therefore, need to include foods like seaweeds, olive, broccoli, and kale in your meal.
Other ways to prevent the low production and damage of platelets is by avoiding some medicines that can result in this issue. Drugs like ranitidine, sulfonamides, furosemide, quinidine, and penicillin are just a few of the contributing factors that impact the production of platelets. If you are not sure if the medicine is appropriate to take, make sure that you seek a doctor’s recommendation.
Although some of the causes of a short lifespan of platelets can’t be avoided, you can still do something to help your body cope up with the condition. Just make sure that you don’t take whatever symptoms for granted because neglecting them can lead to severe complications.