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Low Platelet Count

 A low platelet count is a blood disorder that has a long list of possible causes. Also known as thrombocytopenia, it is not always a serious problem. The bleeding it causes can be serious in some cases, however. The treatments for a low platelet count are aimed at whatever causes are behind the reduced platelets. 

Low Platelet Count, Blood Platelet

Low Platelet Count Causes (Thrombocytopenia) 

Some of the most common underlying reasons for alternations in normal blood platelet counts include: 


Enlarged Spleen 

The spleen helps fight infections and clean the blood, so illnesses that cause an enlarged spleen can cause too many platelets to become trapped inside while the body tries to fight off bacteria or a virus. In healthy people, around one-third of the body's platelets are held in the spleen, but conditions like liver disease/cirrhosis prevent scarring, which keep platelets harbored inside. 


Reactions to medications and over-the-counter drugs 

Platelet production can be altered due to the use of drugs, including diuretics, NSAID anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics, or frequently taking common painkillers like ibuprofen and aspirin. 

The spleen helps fight infections and clean the blood, so illnesses that cause an enlarged spleen can cause too many platelets to become trapped inside while the body tries to fight off bacteria or a virus. In healthy people, around one-third of the body's platelets are held in the spleen, but conditions like liver disease/cirrhosis prevent scarring, which keep platelets harbored inside. 


Autoimmune diseases 

Diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis cause the immune system to mistakenly attack and destroys platelets. This is called immune thrombocytopenia or ITP. 


Alcohol

Alcohol slows the production of platelets and is the biggest problem when it's consumed excessively, especially if someone's diet is also low in nutrients. 


Poor diet and nutrient deficiencies 

Certain nutrients are needed to make enough platelets, including iron, vitamin B12 and folate. Being deficient in these nutrients can change how many are produced and able to survive for normal time periods. The Platelet Information and Blood Testing Laboratory recommends making sure you get enough of these nutrients through your diet in addition to calcium, vitamin K and vitamin D. 


Infection and Viruses 

Rarely, severe bacterial infections involving the blood cause a pause in platelet production. Viruses that can change how platelets are renewed include chickenpox, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and certain other rare viruses. Most of the time common viruses only alter blood platelets temporarily, but some serious viruses like AIDS can permanently cause damage. 


Toxin exposure from the environment 

Chemicals commonly found in the environment, including pesticides, arsenic and benzene, can all slow the production of platelets. 


Pregnancy 

Sometimes pregnant women temporarily experience slowed platelet production, but this is usually mild and goes away after the baby is born. Estimates show that around 5 percent of pregnant women develop mild thrombocytopenia at some point during their pregnancies. 


Genetics 

Certain conditions that run in families and are inherited cause low platelet counts, including Wiskott-Aldrich and May-Hegglin syndromes. 


Cancer 

Leukemia or lymphoma directly damage bone marrow and destroy blood stem cells, but also most common cancer treatments (radiation and chemotherapy) destroy stem cell even more. 


Aplastic anemia 

When the bone marrow stops making enough new blood cells, called aplastic anemia, it causes a low platelet count. 


Fever 

High Fevers are also main cause of reducing platelets count.


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