We should be responsible in making ourselves healthy. But what if we already did our best and we still suffer from a disease? It is frustrating, but we should lose hope. The best way to treat an illness is to understand its cause. Once we learn how it started, we will also know how to defeat it.
One of the most common diseases worldwide is low platelet count. We must admit that most people take it for granted. It may be a simple issue at the start, but it can get worse when necessary solutions are not done to control it. So, what is really the cause of low platelet count in most adults? Are there ways to prevent it?
Platelets may be the small elements in the human blood, but they play a significant role in blood clotting. These cells gather in the place where the wound or cut occurs. They will form clots to stop the bleeding. If there is not enough of them to plump together, excessive bleeding can occur.
A low platelet count is also called thrombocytopenia. This condition may be mild in some cases but can become severe based on the underlying issue. The symptom may also vary on the severity of the disease.
Causes of low platelet count
- Bone marrow disorder
Take note that the platelets are manufactured in the bone marrow. If this particular part of the body becomes defective, it will become hard for it to produce enough amount of platelets and other components of the blood. Therefore, you need to make sure to eat calcium-rich foods to strengthen your bones as a way to protect this spongy tissue inside it.
- Folate and iron deficiency
Folate is a mineral that plays a significant role in the repair and production of DNA and red blood cells. Our body systems rely on the regeneration of new cells for them to function correctly. When you don’t have enough of it, your cells can deform, and it can also lead to congenital disabilities or birth defects for pregnant women. As a solution, you need to folate-rich foods such as banana, shellfish, asparagus, mushroom, eggs, beans, brussels sprout, and fortified cereals.
Iron, on the other hand, is another essential mineral that the cells of our body need. This substance is stored on the bone marrow. We have mentioned that this part of the body is responsible for the production of platelets. Therefore, you should take enough amount of iron for it to perform its function.
It also contributes to the proper production of platelets and red blood cells. Iron can come from sources such as lean meat, fortified cereals, spinach, raisins, beans, and green leafy vegetables.
- Platelet defects
Take note that platelets have a very short lifespan. They can only live in the body no longer than ten days. Certain conditions can cause their destruction even before they become fully mature. It can be due to:
A bacterial infection that resides in the blood – people who have a weak immune system are at high risk of developing thrombocytopenia. The body is prone to toxins, and they can attack the cells, including the platelets if the parts of the immune system can’t control them.
An autoimmune disorder – the immune system should attack the materials that enter in the body. However, it recognizes the platelets as foreign invaders instead of useful elements. It cannot distinguish the difference between the cells from the toxins.
Pregnancy – low platelet count can result in congenital disabilities. The destruction of platelets speeds up during this condition. In return, the body will also rush to create more platelets, but only a few of them is produced. These elements appear younger and larger cells. It can lead to severe conditions which can be fatal for both the mother and baby.
Enlarged spleen – it is a condition in which the spleen is enlarged enabling it to store a large number of platelets instead of allowing them to travel all throughout the body. It is a common occurrence for people with spleen cancer.
Medications – it includes aspirin, adenosine, and anti-inflammatory drugs that can destroy the platelets and other cells of the body. The doctor should prescribe a different medicine to correct the issue.
Cancer – people with this disease are most likely to develop thrombocytopenia. Some types of cancer like leukemia can crowd out in the healthy bone marrow cells. As a result, it will be difficult for it to regenerate new cells.
Chemotherapy – a patient who is undergoing this procedure to treat cancer also has a high risk of developing low platelet count. This kind of treatment can damage the bone marrow wherein the platelets blood cells are produced.
The doctor may change the medicine being used for the therapy or reduce its dosage. He may give oprelvekin to prevent thrombocytopenia. The radiation that comes from chemotherapy can also damage the platelets and other cells so, extending the next cycle of treatment may also be recommended.
Through these several causes, the doctor can determine the type of treatment that you need to recover. If he found out that the problem is due to the malfunctioning bone marrow, he can recommend a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. If the condition starts during the pregnancy period, he may give an iron and folate supplement.
In severe conditions, a low platelet count can result in excessive bleeding. The symptoms can also help the doctor determine if the patient needs a platelet transfusion. However, not everyone who has this condition should be hospitalized. Sometimes, you only need to improve your diet and practice a healthy lifestyle to control its occurrence.
The key to treating various diseases that our body experience is to determine the causes of the issue. In that way, we can find an effective resolution to correct the problem. It will also allow us to avoid the things that lead us to this illness. Let us prevent the occurrence of thrombocytopenia by eating nutritious foods and opting for a healthy lifestyle.