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Drop in Platelets count is a cause of concern

Proper diagnosis is the only safeguard for a healthy life.

There is increasing incidence of dengue, malaria and viral fevers due to changes in the environment. This condition has lead to fall in platelets count in the affected. The questions posed include, what are platelets? And, when should one be given fresh platelets? We have heard about blood transfusion, but very few of us are really aware of it, and also confused about platelets transfusion.

What are platelets?

Blood cells are of three types – white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. White blood cells help in fighting diseases, and aid in enhancing the body’s resistance against infections. Red blood cells have hemoglobin which helps in transporting oxygen to different parts of the body. Platelets help in clotting of the blood following accidents and injuries. Significantly, the platelets nature and count differs from individual to individual. Usually, there are 1.5 to 4.5 Lac platelets in the body with a life of seven to ten days only. Fresh platelets produced in the bone marrow replace the dead platelets. It is not only the adequate number but also the quality of the platelets, which plays a crucial role in blood clotting.

drop in platelets count

What causes drop in platelets count?

There are different reasons for drop in platelets count. Dengue, malaria and viral fever are primary causes for fall in the number of platelets. This condition may also occur due to hereditary causes, and medications. Usually, those with heart diseases using blood thinner medications strongly influence the quality of platelets leading to their low performance, with disastrous impact on blood clotting activity of the body.

What are the symptoms associated with drop in platelets count?

Usually, no symptoms are evident till the platelets counts falls below ten thousand. Once the platelets count falls below the needful number, there is hemorrhage of internal organs. Hemorrhage is evident as bleeding in the mouth, gums, and inside of the nose. However, these symptoms may not be seen in every person with low platelets count.

Some cells of the blood grow uncontrollably, leading to formation of cancerous cells. Once these cancer causing cells affect the different blood cells, the symptoms are clearly evident. If cancer cells affect the white blood cells, it leads to fatigue, and shortness of breath. When the cancer cells infect platelets there may be severe hemorrhage of any organ of the body.

Who need platelets transfusion?

It isn’t the rule that, all people with falling platelets count need a transfusion. According to WHO’s guidelines, platelets transfusion should not be done until their number falls below ten thousand, as the body naturally produces enough platelets from time to time. However, during internal organ bleeding, when the platelets count is below ten thousand, immediate platelet transfusion is highly needful.

Proper diagnosis is crucial to understand the fall in platelet count

To understand the fall in platelet count, appropriate diagnosis is crucial. In case of dengue, medications should go along with adequate platelet transfusion. However, in case of viral infections, the platelet count may normalize within ten days. During malaria, proper treatment will help to normalize the platelet count. Patients with heart disease, who are on blood thinners, need to take doctor’s advice and act accordingly. The right diagnosis sure helps to identify the root cause which is responsible for the fall in platelet count.

Latest treatments for falling platelet count

It has become easy to identify the root cause or problem area of the body that is responsible for falling platelet count. Earlier, if the platelet count fell, it meant death of the affected. In the recent times, innovative technologies have been helping in early diagnosis of the platelets fall. New and latest treatments for the condition of platelets fall have helped to achieve greater survival rates. This includes adoption of efficient ways in platelets transfusion. Single Donor Platelets (SDP) as well as Random Donor Platelets (RDP) are the two methods of platelet transfusion. In SDP, the blood along with the platelets of the donor can be taken for transfusion. However, in RDP the platelets are separated from the blood before they are taken for transfusion. The SDP is preferred over RDP, as it allows for collection of fifty to sixty thousand platelets from the blood.