What is thrombocytopenia?


By Dr Manjusha Agarwal in Internal Medicine

An abnormally low platelet count in the bloodstream leads to thrombocytopenia. It is a medical condition that can worsen bleeding and make it more difficult for blood clots to form. There are many causes. Such as autoimmune diseases, infections, bone marrow disorders, and underlying medical conditions. The severity of thrombocytopenia varies from mild to severe. In certain cases, medication, platelets, or blood transfusions. Other therapies may be necessary to manage the condition and lower the risk of complications. Individuals affected by thrombocytopenia should seek immediate treatment. In this blog, we will explore everything from understanding the platelets normal range to its diagnosis and treatments.

What is a low platelet count?

Thrombocytopenia is another name for low platelet count. It is a condition in which the normal platelet count in the blood is not fulfilled. This function is important for blood clotting and recovering from many blood-related functions. A platelet counts of 150,000–450,000 per microliter of blood is considered normal. However, there can be variation in the severity of symptoms and mild thrombocytopenia may go unnoticed.

To identify the underlying cause of low platelet count and begin the proper treatment. It is imperative to have a medical evaluation and diagnosis. Particularly if the condition is severe or linked to another medical condition. If the illness is severe or connected to another medical condition, you must get the right treatment. Let's first learn about the major low platelet count symptoms before we head to diagnoses and treatment.

Symptoms of a low platelet count?

If you suspect you have a low platelet count or are experiencing low platelet count symptoms. It is crucial to seek medical evaluation and diagnosis from a healthcare professional. The causes of low platelets can vary depending on the severity. Common symptoms and signs of thrombocytopenia may include the following.

Easy Bruising

Individuals with low platelet counts are more prone to bruise easily, and even small cuts can cause bruises that are larger and more obvious.


Low platelet counts can cause nosebleeds to happen frequently or spontaneously.

Gum Bleeding

Thrombocytopenia may be indicated by increased gum bleeding, particularly during eating, brushing, or flossing.

Prolonged Bleeding

Unexpectedly, even small cuts, wounds, or injuries may take longer to stop bleeding.

Blood in Urine or Stool

Blood in the urine or stool due to low platelet counts can be seen or identified by medical testing.

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Low platelet counts in women can result in longer and heavier menstrual cycles.


These are tiny pinpoint spots that can appear on the skin, usually red or purple, and are caused by tiny capillaries leaking blood beneath the skin's surface.

Headaches and Fatigue

Due to the increased risk of internal bleeding, people with severe cases of thrombocytopenia may feel weak, tired, and have headaches.

Causes of a low platelet count?

It is essential to identify the exact root cause of low platelets count to properly monitor and treat the condition until there is normal platelet count. It's critical to speak with a medical professional if you think you may have thrombocytopenia or exhibit symptoms. They can perform diagnostic testing to identify the underlying cause and create an appropriate treatment plan to maintain the right blood platelet count. Here are certain causes that will lead to this condition.

Platelet Destruction

The process through which platelets, which are necessary for blood clotting and hemostasis, are prematurely destroyed or broken down in the bloodstream is referred to as platelet destruction, also known as thrombocytosis. Reduced functional platelets in the blood, specifically thrombocytopenia, can be the outcome of this condition.

Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP)

A lower platelet count results from the immune system's inadvertent attack and destruction of platelets in immune thrombocytopenia (ITP).


Some drugs can cause drug-induced thrombocytopenia by influencing platelet survival or production, including some antibiotics, anti-seizure medications, and anticoagulants.


Some viral infections, like Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis C, or HIV, can damage bone marrow or increase platelet destruction, which can result in a decrease in platelet counts.

Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia (HIT)

Blood thinner heparin may induce a condition in which the body develops antibodies against platelets, resulting in their elimination.

Bone marrow issues

Numerous factors can lead to thrombocytopenia or low platelet counts, but they can be broadly divided into two categories: problems with the bone marrow and platelet destruction. The following are some typical reasons for a low platelet count:

Aplastic Anemia

This rare disease causes a low platelet to count by impairing the bone marrow's capacity to produce red and white blood cells in addition to platelets.

Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)

MDS disorders are characterized by insufficient production of healthy blood cells, including platelets, by the bone marrow.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one of the leukemia types that can impair bone marrow function and lower platelet production.

Bone Marrow Disorders

Platelet production imbalances can be caused by other bone marrow disorders such as myelofibrosis and essential thrombocythemia.

Chemotherapy and Radiation

These cancer therapies have the potential to momentarily lower platelet production by impacting the bone marrow, which results in a decrease in platelet counts.

See Also - High Hemoglobin Levels

How is a low platelet count diagnosed?

Diagnosing reasons for low platelet count, or thrombocytopenia, involves various factors. The combination of medical history, physical examination, and blood tests is typically sufficient to diagnose the underlying reasons for a low platelets count. Once the cause is identified, the healthcare provider can develop an appropriate treatment plan to address the specific condition or issue leading to low platelets. Early diagnosis and treatment can be crucial for controlling the normal blood platelet count. Here's how a low platelet count is diagnosed.

Medical History

First, the medical professional will take a thorough medical history. Which includes any known risk factors or reasons for a low platelet count. Information about current medications and about any underlying medical conditions is very important.

Physical Examination

A thorough physical examination is conducted to look for signs of bleeding or bruising. As well as any potential underlying conditions or diseases that may be contributing to the low platelet count.

Blood Tests

Testing blood is the main way to diagnose low platelet count. Healthcare providers can ascertain whether a patient's platelet count is below the normal range. by carrying out a CBC (complete blood count).


In certain conditions, an ultrasound may be used to examine the spleen. Which can be enlarged in some cases of thrombocytopenia. An enlarged spleen may tend to remove platelets from the bloodstream, leading to low platelet counts.

What is the treatment for a low platelet count?

The course of treatment is customized based on the patient's condition. Depending on the degree of thrombocytopenia, working with a healthcare provider is crucial. For choosing the best course of action and monitoring your progress. Addressing the root causes of low platelets is essential. As effective treatment can increase blood platelets counts and improve overall health. The severity of thrombocytopenia can be characterized by a low platelet count. The following are the most common methods for treating low platelet count.

Addressing Underlying Causes:

Treating thrombocytopenia initially involves determining its underlying causes and taking appropriate action. Treating infections or autoimmune disorders, changing medication, or managing related medical conditions could all be part of this.

Platelet Transfusions

Blood platelets transfusions can be used to quickly raise platelet counts in cases of severe thrombocytopenia or when bleeding is likely. Usually, platelets are drawn from blood donors and given to patients as a blood transfusion.


Medications like azathioprine, cyclosporine, corticosteroids, eltrombopag, and romiplostim are used to treat low platelet counts. In people with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), corticosteroids calm down the immune system's response, while drugs like cyclosporine and azathioprine help regulate the immune system.

Treating Bleeding or Hemorrhage

It may be necessary to receive emergency medical attention and administer treatments like blood transfusions and anticoagulant medications in cases of severe hemorrhage or active bleeding.


When all other treatments have failed and the patient has severe ITP, a splenectomy may be considered as a surgical option. Removing the spleen can result in higher platelet counts because it is frequently the cause of platelet destruction in ITP.

Supportive Care

Patients with mild to moderate thrombocytopenia might not need special care, but they should still exercise caution to prevent cuts and other activities that could result in bleeding. Healthcare providers may offer advice on how to lower the chance of bleeding on a daily basis.


Low platelet count, or thrombocytopenia, is treated and managed according to severity. Depending on the underlying causes of the condition. This involves close coordination with medical experts and the use of individualized strategies. Such as modifying medications or providing platelet transfusions. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are essential. Therefore, for the effective management of thrombocytopenia and the minimization of bleeding complications. Seek consultations from skilled medical teams and diagnostic equipment in global hospitals. With precise diagnoses and personalized treatment programs. You can overcome this condition at an early stage.

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