Thrombocytopenia is a health condition in which the body has a low platelet count. Platelets are the small components of the blood that are structured like disk when at rest and have no nucleus. They spread their tentacles when they receive a chemical signal from the blood vessels when an individual get wounded. They will then gather into the affected area to form a clot as a way to stop bleeding.
Since platelets play a vital role in blood clotting, there must be enough of them that the bone marrow should produce. The average platelet count should be between 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per liter of blood. If this level is not achieved or the platelet count drops too low, several issues may occur, resulting in thrombocytopenia.
This health condition has different causes. Some are due to inherited disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, dengue fever, chemotherapy, and many other factors that decrease the production of platelets. It is essential to take note that thrombocytopenia can also happen if the body reacts to certain medications being used to treat a disease. The following are just a few of the well-known culprits that reduce the body’s capability to generate enough level of platelets.
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- Mefenamic acid
- Valproic acid
Thrombocytopenia can occur when the medicines destroy the cells, including platelets. It can lead to bleeding disorders. Although these drugs provide relief to certain conditions, they can have an adverse effect, and that includes interfering with the production of platelets. It means that anyone can be affected regardless of their age or gender.
Generally, individuals who use various types of medications, may it be a painkiller, antibiotics, medicines for an ulcer, or even synthetic drugs, are at high risk of developing low platelet count.
Drug-induced immune thrombocytopenia
Some medicines, like heparin, can produce antibodies to fight the invading elements called antigens. Bacteria and virus are just two of the common kinds of antigens that harm the body and its organs. These antibodies cannot distinguish the useful cells of the body. As a result, they destroy them, including the platelets and other components of the blood, and eventually reducing their numbers.
Drug-induced non-immune thrombocytopenia
On the other hand, drugs that are used for chemotherapy and treatment of seizure can prevent the bone marrow from creating sufficient numbers of platelets. Be aware that the platelets are manufactured in this spongy portion inside the bones. The medicines can reduce the capability of the bone marrow to produce healthy platelets.
Individuals who have been affected with the impact of any of these medicines listed above can experience complications such as purple spots on the skin or petechiae, spontaneous bleeding, nosebleeds, gum bleeding, and susceptibility to excessive bleeding even on a small wound. In severe cases, this problem could lead to bleeding of the intestinal tract or brain, which can eventually lead to death.
Performing a series of diagnostic tests is an essential method to evaluate the cause of the issue and find out the necessary treatment of the condition. A complete blood count or CBC is one of the typical diagnostic processes. It will not only determine the platelet count, but it is also an excellent way to check the level of the other components of the blood.
The doctor will also perform a physical examination to assess if the individual shows symptoms like petechiae or bleeding on some external parts of the body. He will also ask about your medical and family history to identify if the suspected disease is inherited or not. Make sure to provide him the medications you are currently taking since it will help him check if those drugs are the source of your health condition.
The doctor will also perform blood clotting studies to evaluate if the platelets have correct structures and they don’t plug on the blood vessels or some areas of the body. He will also conduct a bone marrow biopsy to check if the bone marrow is not affected by viral infections. It can help him identify if this manufacturer of platelets is still functioning well and producing enough blood cells.
Expect that the doctor will run several tests before declaring the leading cause of the problem. He will keep a record of the findings of each of the study conducted. It is also essential to cooperate with him most especially if he needs additional information about your medical condition.
The doctor will run a series of diagnostic tests to identify the underlying cause of thrombocytopenia. If he finds out that the medicine is the cause of the patient’s condition, he will advise discontinuing the use of those drugs, or an alternative medication may also be recommended.
Additional treatment may also be given to the patient to normalize the platelet level of his body. It may include platelet transfusion, corticosteroid drugs, or plasmapheresis. These recommendations will replace the lost platelets in the body and prevent the danger of bleeding.
Some treatments can also be done at home to normalize your platelet count. It can be done by merely avoiding exercises or activity that can cause injury or wound. Remember that people with thrombocytopenia, regardless of its cause, has a risk of bleeding. Be extra careful when using sharp or pointed objects so the problem will not lead to complications.
You can also drink plenty of fluid to keep you hydrated. This method is vital most especially if bleeding occurs. Eating green leafy vegetables and platelet-boosting foods can also aid in faster recovery. Don’t hesitate to check with your physician if he can recommend useful supplements that can help you with your condition.
Also, avoid buying drugs, including over the counter medicines, that are not prescribed by your doctor. Whether you want to use painkillers or anything that can bring relief, remember that any wrong move can bring your life at risk. It is crucial to seek a consultation before doing any step that could interfere in the production of your platelets.