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What does a low platelet count mean?

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A low platelet count is a sign of a blood or immune disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic. A severely low platelet count may trigger fatal internal bleeding.

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What does a low platelet count mean?
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Full Answer

A healthy platelet count ranges between 150,000 to 400,000, according to MedlinePlus, and a platelet count that falls under 150,000 indicates a condition known as thrombocytopenia. The symptoms of low platelet count include bruising, superficial bleeding that resembles rashes on the lower leg, sudden bleeding from the gum and nose, unusually high menstrual flows in women, blood in urine or stool, and significant bleeding post surgery. To stop bleeding, patients should try applying pressure to the affected area.

The causes of a low platelet count include an enlarged spleen, viral infections that damage the bone marrow, pregnancy, autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, bacterial infections, and the use of medications, chemotherapy and radiation, according to Mayo Clinic, but a low platelet count may also run in families. A low platelet count is often found by a routine blood test that provides information about patient's complete blood count, a blood smear test or a bone marrow test. A low platelet count can be treated with glucocorticoids, intravenous immune globulin, Rho D immune globulin, thrombopoietin receptor agonists, Rituximab, immunosuppressive drugs or surgery. Patients can prevent further loss of platelets by avoiding rigorous sports such as football or skiing and by consuming lots of fruits and vegetables.

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