The human blood is essentially composed of four components namely erythrocytes (red blood cells), leucocytes (white blood cells), thrombocytes (blood platelets) and plasma. While the plasma is the liquid medium, the other three floats within the plasma of the blood. The thrombocytes are mainly concerned with clotting of blood to stop bleeding from external as well as internal cuts and injuries. Without the presence of platelets in human blood it would have been impossible for the blood to clot and the bleeding from wounds to stop.
The problem of low platelet count is also known as thrombocytopenia. The symptoms of this condition usually depend on the underlying cause and may range from being mild to severe. A few people may not have serious symptoms whereas for others the symptoms may include severe bleeding and can even be fatal if they do not go for treatment on time. The symptoms of low platelet count includes bleeding gums, blood in stool or urine, heavy menstrual bleeding, blood vomiting, rectal bleeding, internal bleeding, rashes with red or purple dots known as “petechiae”, red or brown or purple bruise marks called “purpura” and even serious symptoms like bleeding in brain.
The causes of low platelet count may be due to several underlying disorders. Some of the reasons include aplastic anaemia, iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, folate deficiency, leukaemia, cirrhosis, and myelodyplasia, excess consumption of alcohol, chickenpox, HIV virus, Epstein - Barr virus, pregnancy, haemolytic uremic syndrome, disseminated intravascular coagulation, hypersplenism, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and bacterial infection in blood.
The treatment of this problem begins with diagnosis of the underlying cause and it involves blood test, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, ultrasound imaging of the spleen. Once the cause of the problem is diagnosed, the treatment is done accordingly.
The first step for the treatment of low platelets in blood involves diagnosis of the cause of the problem. This includes enquiry about previous medications (if any), symptoms, family history and looking out for rashes and bruises on the patient’s body. Other physical examinations recommended by the doctor involve blood test, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy and ultrasound imaging of the spleen. Once the cause of the problem is confirmed, the treatment is done by the concerned doctor accordingly.
In case, the symptoms of low platelet count are not severe enough, the doctor do not go for any treatment and the condition is left to heal by itself. However, treatment for this problem becomes mandatory if the symptoms are severe. The patients with low platelet count are often recommended to avoid contact sports and other works that have high risks of bleeding, less consumption of alcohol, to stop or change the medicines that affect the count of platelets adversely. In very serious conditions of low platelet count the doctor recommends for medical treatments like blood or platelet transfusion, administration of immune-globulin, steroids and corticosteroids in order to block platelet antibodies, surgical removal of spleen (splenectomy), change of medications that leads to low platelet count, suppression of immune system of the patient by various medication. Once the root cause for low count of platelets is treated, the count of thrombocytes comes back to normal after a certain span of time.
Individuals who are diagnosed as having low blood platelet count and having other symptoms like bleeding gums, blood in stool and/or urine, heavy menstrual bleeding, blood vomiting, rectal bleeding, internal bleeding, rashes with red or purple dots known as “petechiae”, red or brown or purple bruise marks called “purpura” and even serious symptoms like bleeding in brain, are the ones who are eligible to undergo a treatment for low blood platelets. In case the cause and symptoms of this condition are very minor, then the doctor usually leaves such patients untreated and the condition heals gradually with time.
The individuals who have healthy count of blood platelets ranging from 150,000 to 400,000 are not eligible for the treatment of thrombocytopenia. Moreover, the patients having mild symptoms of low platelets are not eligible for the treatment because such patients can recover easily within a short span of time.
The treatment of the condition of low blood platelets depends on how serious the symptoms are. For medical treatments suggested by the doctor using corticosteroids, rituximab, intravenous immune globulins include some side effects as well. The side effects of the treatment of this problem involves weight gain, puffy cheeks, frequent urge of urination, low bone density, acne, sleep problems, weakness, headache, nausea, fever, chills, weakened immune system, urge of vomiting, high risk of blood clot, unwanted hair growth among women. Patients having such side effects from the treatment should immediately contact their doctor.
The problem of low blood platelets is often cured once the root cause of lowering of platelets is cured. However, the post treatment guidelines for such patients include consumption of a healthy diet with lots vegetables and fruits, avoiding food with quinine and aspartame, avoiding excess consumption of alcohol, keeping away from contact sports or other activities that have high risks of bleeding or getting hurt. In addition to this, the patients are also recommended not to take medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen since they lower the count of blood platelets and make bleeding easier. In case the patients suffer from any kind of side effects from the treatment then he/she must immediately consult a doctor for its remedial measures.
The symptom of low platelet count is cured once the cause of this condition is successfully diagnosed and treated. After the treatment is complete, it takes more or less about a week’s time for the count of blood platelet to revert back to normal. However, the patient needs to take a healthy diet and should avoid intake of excess alcohol and other activities that involves risks of getting injured, for a couple of weeks even after recovery from this condition.
The treatment for low platelets vary depending upon the seriousness of the underlying cause of this condition. The cost of this treatment in India is low as compared to the other countries. The general price of consulting a doctor regarding such a problem ranges from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000 per visit. The total cost of treatment for a patient suffering from low platelets can range from Rs. 74,000 to Rs. 177,500. This treatment is commonly available in almost all the hospitals in all the cities of India.
The treatment of low platelets may or may not be permanent. The permanent treatment of low platelets involves treating the underlying cause of this problem. Even after the patient has recovered from this condition, he/she needs to take proper care of their diet and should avoid taking excess alcohols and keep away from activities that involve risks of getting injured. The patients should also avoid taking medicines such as ibuprofen and aspirin because these drugs have a tendency to lower the count of blood platelets. For patients who are having low platelet count, due to some underlying permanent health problems, care should be taken to keep the cause of this condition under control.
Apart from the conventional ways of treatment of the conditions of low platelets, there are a few more natural remedies that can help to overcome this problem. Taking Aloe vera juice, Ashwagandha, doses of phosphorous, juice of Papaya Leaf, corticosteroids, diet rich in Vitamin C can help in increasing the count of blood platelets in blood. Moreover, a healthy diet, regular exercises and decreased stress levels can help in maintaining a healthy blood platelet count.