Blood

High Platelet Blood Count: Thrombocythemia, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Platelets are also known as Thrombocytes. They are very small and are irregularly-shaped anuclear cell fragments. Platelets are approximately 2-3 ┬Ám in diameter and they are derived from fragmentation. These fragmentations are known as Megakarocytes. They are derived from the breaking down of megakaryocytes in the bone marrow. Platelets’ average life span is normally 5 to 9 days. Thrombocythemia is the medical name used for high platelet blood count.

The condition of formation of blood clots due to high number of the platelets is called Thrombosis. Platelets generally function by sticking together in order to form a blood clot on the damaged wall of the blood vessel or an injury. These clots obstruct the blood vessels which results in their blockage. Thrombocytopathy is the condition which occurs when there is an abnormality in the count of the platelets. Read on to know more about this condition.

Thrombocythemia

  • Primary Thrombocythemia is a disorder in which excess number of platelets are produced and this can eventually lead to abnormal clotting of the blood or bleeding.
  • Thrombocytes are usually produced in the bone marrow with the help of the cells known as the Megakaryocytes.
  • These Megakaryocytes increase in number eventually resulting in producing high platelets.
  • People suffering from this condition may appear completely normal and may not have any medical problems. Myeloproliferative disorder is one medical condition that can result in causing this condition.
  • Some individuals experience bleeding even when they have an increased blood count too and this usually happens when the platelets are not sticky enough to function efficiently.
  • The condition of high blood platelets count usually occurs in people older than 50 and it is more frequently observed in women.
  • The medical term used for high number of platelets in the blood is known as Thrombocytosis.

Causes

The condition of high platelet blood count can occur due to many reasons.

  • The main reason is that the cells in the bone marrow produce more number of platelets.
  • Spleen sometimes removes less number of platelets from the body and this happens when a person undergoes a surgical removal of the blood. This process is known as the Splenectomy.

Symptoms

Excess production of the platelets can form blood clots that eventually block the flow of blood in the blood vessels.The symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Tingling and abnormal sensation in the hands, feet and fingertips due to the blocks in blood vessels
  • Vision changes
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Nose bleeds
  • Oozing blood from the gums and
  • Enlargement of the liver and spleen

What is a platelet count test?

Platelet count refers to the number of platelets present in the blood of an individual. They are measured in platelets/mcL (microliter). The normal range is 150,000 to 400,000 platelets/mcL. This range may be a little variable depending on individuals.

This test is usually a part of complete blood cell (CBC) test. It may also be done individually. For the test, a sample of blood is usually drawn from a vein in the arm and tested for platelet count.

Treatment

Treatment for high platelet blood count requires drugs that can reduce the production of the platelets.

  • These drugs include Hydrea, Agrylin, Bayer.
  • Treatment with these drugs is continued until the platelets count falls into a safe range.
  • Small doses of aspirin will help in reducing the sticky nature of the platelets.

Facts about Platelets

  • The platelet count in a human being is between 150 million and 400 million per milliliter of blood.
  • The platelet count varies from person to person depending on the racial origin.
  • The platelets count is more than 400 million in the case of Thrombocytosis and it can even reach up to 5000 million per ml.

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