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How does a low blood platelet count affect bodily organs?

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Quick Answer

A platelet count of less than 150,000 per microliter, or thrombocytopenia, leads to excess bleeding, according to WebMD. Platelets are important cells that clot the blood and repair cell walls and tissues. Severe thrombocytopenia (less that 10,000 per microliter) may cause internal bleeding that can be fatal, advises Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Platelets repair blood vessels, so low platelets, or thrombocytopenia, can affect all bodily organs. In severe cases, many organs show signs of thrombocytopenia. Signs include easy and excessive bruising; red, flat spots on the skin; prolonged bleeding from the nose or of the gums; blood in the stool or urine; excessive menstrual flow; and profuse bleeding after surgery or dental work, states Mayo Clinic. Extreme blood loss is a medical emergency. Mild thrombocytopenia often has no visible signs, states WebMD.

Platelets are produced in the bone marrow. Diseases of the marrow, such as leukemia, can cause low platelet count, according to Mayo Clinic. Other causes of thrombocytopenia include viral or bacterial infections, pregnancy and certain medications. Blood cancer, miliary tuberculosis, vitamin deficiency and heart bypass surgery are additional causes, notes WebMD.

Doctors treat thrombocytopeniawith drug therapies, according to WebMD. Occasionally, they treat it surgically with platelet-rich blood transfusions or with removal of the spleen.

Mild thrombocytopenia, usually resolves when the underlying cause is cured, observes WebMD.

Self-care advice includes avoiding blood-thinning drugs, alcohol and activities that may lead to injury.

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