Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Count) (cont.)
Siamak T. Nabili, MD, MPH
Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is thrombocytopenia?
- What causes thrombocytopenia?
- What are the symptoms of thrombocytopenia?
- When should I seek medical care for thrombocytopenia?
- How is thrombocytopenia diagnosed?
- How is thrombocytopenia treated?
- What are the complications of thrombocytopenia?
- Can thrombocytopenia be prevented?
- Thrombocytopenia At A Glance
- Find a local Hematologist in your town
What are the complications of thrombocytopenia?
The complications of thrombocytopenia may be excessive bleeding after a cut or an injury resulting in hemorrhage and major blood loss. However, spontaneous bleeding (without any injury or cut) due to thrombocytopenia is uncommon, unless the platelet count is less than 20,000.
Other complications may be related to any other underlying factors or conditions. For example, autoimmune thrombocytopenia related to lupus may be associated with other complications of lupus. TTP or HUS can have many complications including severe anemia, confusion or other neurologic changes, or kidney failure. HIT or heparin induced thrombocytopenia can have devastating complications related to blood clot formation (thrombosis).
Can thrombocytopenia be prevented?
In general, thrombocytopenia can be prevented if the cause is known and it is preventable. If a certain medication is found to induce low platelet count in an individual, then its future use needs to be avoided. Alcohol avoidance should be encouraged in people with known alcohol-induced thrombocytopenia. Current and future use of all heparin products must be avoided in people diagnosed with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.
Thrombocytopenia At A Glance
- Thrombocytopenia refers to platelet counts lower than the
normal range of
150,000 to 450,000.
- Causes of thrombocytopenia can be classified in 3 groups; diminished
production, increased destruction, and splenic sequestration.
- Treatment of thrombocytopenia may vary depending on the cause and the severity.
Reference: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 1998.
Last Editorial Review: 1/26/2011
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