Platelets, which are also referred to as thrombocytes, are the smallest component of blood that plays a significant role in blood clotting. They react to the signals sent by the blood vessels when an injury or wound occurs. These elements have no nucleus; instead, they are developed from megakaryocytes found in the bone marrow.
Each of these megakaryocytes can produce about 1,000 to 3,000 platelets at its lifetime. This rate enables the healthy body to create 10(11) platelets daily. Take note that not all of the platelets travel all throughout the bloodstream. The spleen stores one-third of its portion. They are only released when the sympathetic nervous system needs them during the splenic contraction.
Among the other components of the blood, the platelets have the shortest lifespan, which is only between seven to 10 days. The mature platelets are destructed in the liver and spleen. Platelets have a disk structure when they are at rest, but they spread their tentacles when they need to clump together in the wounded area of the body.
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Their primary role is to help during the hemostasis, a process of stopping the bleeding. They gather in the affected area to prevent the blood from flowing out of the body. If there is not enough of them to perform their function, it will be difficult for the body to resist the bleeding which can be life-threatening.
A low platelet count is commonly called thrombocytopenia. This condition often occurs due to the decreased production of platelets. Studies show that this condition is most common on men. Its existence in this gender has various causes:
Alcohol is the primary culprit when it comes to the production of cells, including platelets. One of its adverse effects is the prevention of proper growth of cells, resulting in the abnormal development and stopping them from getting into their maturity age. Platelets, along with other components of blood, are destroyed prematurely.
It is also a toxic substance for the bone marrow. Take note that this spongy material in the bone manufactures the platelets. The alcohol can hinder this portion to regenerate enough numbers of platelets and reduces its ability to sustain the needs of the body. Some of the platelets are therefore destroyed while some of them have an abnormal structure.
The use of certain medicines is a big factor that affects the production of platelets. Some of them are aspirin, cilostazol, ibuprofen, and clopidogrel. It is, therefore, essential to seek for doctor’s prescription if you are diagnosed with thrombocytopenia before taking any drug.
The production of platelets can also be dependent on your diet. Vitamin B12, iron, and folate are just a few of the essential nutrients that your body must have to generate enough amount of platelets. These can naturally be found in food sources such as green, leafy vegetables, lean meat, raisins, beans, liver, fortified cereals, banana, and many more.
Although the low platelet count is treatable when a nutritional deficiency is a primary cause, you still need to make sure to include proper diet into your routine. Without these minerals, you can suffer from various symptoms like dizziness, blurred vision, pale skin, and weak body.
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)
This condition is characterized by blood clots that gather in the small blood vessels instead of flowing in the bloodstream. It is an abnormal issue that reduces the number of platelets that travel to different parts of the body. It can result in bleeding under the skin and prevents the proper delivery of oxygen in the various organs. This health problem can be inherited wherein people are born having this natural condition.
Diseases and viral infection
Dengue fever, HIV, leukemia, and Zika virus are just a few of the contributors of the destruction of platelets in the men’s bodies. In these cases, the body will only have a low platelet count once these health conditions occur. Therefore, the best way to treat the issue is to target the disease itself.
Hepatitis is another common problem among men. It can be obtained from contaminated needles used for tattooing and ear piercing. Males who also use intravenous drugs are most likely to get this infectious disease. A low platelet count can bring severe complications to this health issue.
Aside from the depletion of other components of blood, the platelets can also be affected when the virus attacks the body. These diseases can also lead to bleeding, typically from the intestinal tract. As a result, the platelets will drop even more which can eventually lead to death if a blood transfusion is not advised immediately.
Men can also suffer from autoimmune disease, a condition in which the antibodies should fight the foreign agents but damage the platelets and other cells instead. They mistakenly destroy the blood vessels, tissues, platelets, and different types of elements and as a result, the body cannot regenerate new ones to replace the damaged cells.
This condition can occur if a person has rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, and Guillain-Barre syndrome. The doctor will treat the disease to normalize the levels of platelets.
Exposure to toxic substances
Chemicals that spread through the environment can also contribute to the low level of platelet count. Prolonged exposure to pesticides, arsenic, sprays, paint, and other harmful substances can decrease the capability of bone marrow to manufacture enough amount of platelets and can also damage these elements before they mature.
The spleen is a helpful part of the body that cleans the blood to prevent the bacteria from going through the bloodstream. It also traps about one-third of the body’s platelets which is its normal activity. However, conditions like liver cirrhosis can collect more platelets than the standard value. This disease is prevalent in men with chronic alcohol abuse.
Men, therefore, should take care of their health to avoid these common health problems that cause the low production of platelets. Aside from this fact, these conditions can also lead to complications that the body can’t sometimes tolerate. So, it is better to start taking precautionary measures now as a way to value life.