What is thrombocytopenia?

Thrombocytopenia is a disease in which there is a low platelet count, i.e., a platelet disorder.

Platelets or thrombocytes are a component of the blood that helps the clotting process. Abnormally, this condition manifests with a decrease in platelets causing abnormal bleeding.

Profuse bleeding (hemorrhage) is the main complication that can occur in this pathology, and may occur in the brain or gastrointestinal tract.

Prognosis of the disease

The prognosis of thrombocytopenia depends fundamentally on the causes that provoke it. Depending on the cause, the prognosis will depend on the cause.

Symptoms of thrombocytopenia

The main symptoms are:

  • Bleeding in the mouth and gums
  • Tendency to hematoma formation and excess of them.
  • Nosebleeds
  • Skin rash

It is possible that in certain cases the patient may not suffer any of these symptoms or may suffer other symptoms depending on the cause of the thrombocytopenia.

The prognosis of thrombocytopenia depends mainly on the causes of the thrombocytopenia.

Medical tests for thrombocytopenia

First of all, the patient will undergo a physical examination, the medical history will be analyzed and the patient will be asked about the symptoms he/she is suffering from. In addition, the following tests may be done:

  • Complete blood count (CBC).
  • Coagulation studies (PTT and PT)
  • Bone marrow aspiration
  • Biopsy

What are the causes of thrombocytopenia?

There are three possible causes of thrombocytopenia:

  1. Insufficient production of platelets in the bone marrow. This can happen if the patient suffers from:
    • Aplastic anemia (a disorder in which the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells).
    • Cancer in the bone marrow such as leukemia
    • Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
    • Folate deficiency
    • Bone marrow infections (very rare)
    • Myelodysplastic syndrome (bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells or produces defective blood cells)
    • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  2. Increased breakdown of platelets in the bloodstream, as well as in the spleen or liver.
  3. Other causes such as the intake of drugs. The most common example is chemotherapy treatment.
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Can it be prevented?

Certain medications such as aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or the practice of sports that may cause trauma, so it is recommended to avoid them.

Treatments for thrombocytopenia

The ideal treatment will depend on the cause of the thrombocytopenia, although to prevent or stop bleeding, a platelet transfusion is recommended.

If other treatment options do not work, your doctor may consider surgery to remove your spleen (splenectomy).

What specialist treats it?

The specialist who treats thrombocytopenia is the hematologist, since he or she studies diseases of the blood and the organs that help create it.