Most often, people who have undergone a surgery suffers from thrombocytopenia, a condition in which a person has low platelet count. The required level should be 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood for the body to have proper clotting process. If the bone marrow doesn’t make enough of it, it will be difficult for the body to cope up during injuries, thus, resulting in excessive bleeding.
Platelets are elements that clump together in the wounded area to control the blood from flowing out. Therefore, people who need to undergo a surgery primarily need them. It is normal that patients lose a lot of its amount after a surgical operation. Since they only live between seen to ten days, the bone marrow should continuously produce the required amount to prevent bleeding after the process.
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It could be a frustrating experience when you are hoping to get well after the treatment but having a low platelet count makes you suffer. Bleeding can occur either on the part where the surgery was conducted or on other body parts. Take note that the patient is prone to infection after a surgical operation. His immune system is not yet fully performing until it recovers.
What are some reasons for the low platelet levels?
The medication being used for the surgical operation can be one reason why the immune system attacks the body’s cells, including platelets. The medicine release antibodies that are supposed to kill the antigens such as bacteria and virus. These invaders can take over the body because the antibodies focus on targeting the cells instead. As a result, the platelets are destructed as they try to travel in the bloodstream.
When there are a few of the platelets left, there are not enough of them to clot together to the part that the antigens damage. It becomes possible that the foreign materials are higher in number compared to the cells and platelets. A platelet transfusion is sometimes recommended to people prior to the surgical operation. It is done to prevent bleeding during the process.
Another common occurrence of low platelet count is after a bone marrow transplant. Most often, patients will experience a drop in their platelet levels below 20,000 per microliter of blood. Take note that the platelets are made in the bone marrow. If this part fails to create sufficient amount of them, then the body will have low platelet count. It can only make a limited number of platelets while recovering.
This problem can also arise due to the decrease of the surviving platelets. We have mentioned that the bone marrow should create platelets spontaneously since they only have a short lifespan. If the bone marrow undergoes a surgery, no other part of the body can replace its function. The body will just use the remaining platelets that the bone marrow produced before the operation. It will take time for it to make more of these elements again because it still needs to recover. As a result, the remaining platelets were already lost before they are replaced.
What are some other reasons?
Another factor that contributes to the reduced production of platelets is the delayed recovery of these elements themselves. It is usually happening due to severe marrow fibrosis experienced by the patient after the surgery. It is an abnormal function of stem cells in which they create mature cells that can take over in the bone marrow.
Patients who have undergone high dose of chemotherapy also provide side effects. The radiotherapy can also contribute to the to the adverse effects of the treatment. The doctor may either reduce the dose of the drugs or replace them with other medicines.
Aside from the medications, you are also at risk to develop an infection that comes from foods. It is, therefore, essential to avoid lightly cooked poultry or eggs to control the growth of bacteria. Make sure to wash the fruits and vegetables properly to prevent contamination.
Surgical patients that receive donor stem cells are most likely to develop a condition called GVHD or graft versus host disease. It can cause various signs such as weight loss, sore eyes, skin rashes, diarrhea, and shortness of breath. It is because the stem cells from the donor contain immune cells which can attack the body’s cells, including platelets. This immune system reaction can be life-threatening. The doctor will provide immunosuppressives to reduce the symptoms of this condition.
Sometimes, the patients who have had received several platelet transfusion in the past can also have a slow recovery. The platelets were not already reacting as the immune system is already used to it. The platelet level will, therefore, continue to drop. It will then be risky for the person if it continues to happen.
What are the after effects?
After the surgery, it is more likely for you to lose the effects of the vaccinations you have had when you are still a baby. Although your platelets have fully recovered from the operation, they cannot recover yet from the effects of the treatment. To make you cope up, the doctor will recommend you to have immunization again.
Based on these side effects of a surgical operation in your body, a low platelet count will bring you at risk of bleeding. You will notice the bruises that develop anywhere in your body. Furthermore, you can also see blood in the stool or urine. Your gums can easily bleed when you brush your teeth. To correct these issues, the doctor will recommend a platelet transfusion. It may be a temporary resolution to replace the lost platelets from your body. However, it can help reduce the symptoms of bleeding and help you recover.
It is also normal that you will lose your appetite after the surgical operation. Because of this fact, your body will have a hard time absorbing the nutrients that you can get from foods. It is essential for you to consume platelet-boosting substances as a way to support your body’s needs. Ask your doctor for effective supplements that can enhance the level of nutrients to sustain the lost elements.