Thrombocytopenia: Symptoms and Treatment

April 30, 2024

Thrombocytopenia: Symptoms and Treatment
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An excessively low platelet count in the blood might result in thrombocytopenia. Larger cells are converted into platelets, which are small blood cells, in the bone marrow. Platelets aggregate to create a plug that seals wounds when you are hurt. A blood clot is the term used to describe this blockage. Because a blood clot is sometimes known as a thrombus, platelets are also referred to as thrombocyte blood cells.

If there is severe bleeding or bleeding in the brain, thrombocytopenia may pose a major threat to life. It’s possible to prevent major consequences with early treatment.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Thrombocytopenia?
  2. Types of Thrombocytopenia
  3. Symptoms of Thrombocytopenia
  4. Thrombocytopenia Treatment
  5. Conclusion
  6. Frequently asked questions

What is Thrombocytopenia?

A low platelet count in the blood is known as thrombocytopenia. Blood cells called platelets, also known as thrombocytes, aid in blood clotting. When blood vessels are injured, platelets cluster together to create plugs that halt the bleeding. A bone marrow illness like leukemia or an issue with the immune system can also lead to thrombocytopenia. Alternatively, it could be a consequence of taking specific drugs. It has an impact on both adults and children.

Mild cases of thrombocytopenia may show minimal signs or symptoms. Rarely, internal bleeding can become very threatening due to a low platelet count.

Types of Thrombocytopenia

The following forms of thrombocytopenia can occur based on the reason for low platelet counts:

  • IMMUNO THROMBOCYTOPENIC PURPURA (ITP): Immuno thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) is a disease that is frequently associated with insufficient platelets. The term “purpura” describes a purple, bruise-like appearance on the skin. Even if the cause of ITP is unknown to medical professionals, the issue is a malfunctioning immune system. The platelets are accidentally destroyed by antibodies, which are meant to combat infections.
  • THROMBOCYTOPENIC PURPURA (TTP): Though rare, TTP can be harmful when it occurs. TTP causes numerous blood clots to form all over the body. These clots can harm or interfere with the normal function of the organs.
  • DRUG-INDUCED THROMBOCYTOPENIA (DIT): DIT usually occurs 1-2 weeks after consuming a new drug.
  • HEPARIN-INDUCED THROMBOCYTOPENIA (HIT): This kind is caused by the medication heparin. Heparin is used by doctors to prevent blood clots when a patient is at risk of developing a deadly clot because of surgery or another medical condition. The drug could make the platelets aggregate instead of staying in the bloodstream.
  • GESTATIONAL THROMBOCYTOPENIA: Pregnancy-related low platelets are most frequently caused by this kind. The exact reason for decreased platelet counts during pregnancy is unknown. It usually occurs around the end of pregnancy and usually disappears after birth. However, in the event of another pregnancy, gestational thrombocytopenia may recur. 
  • DELUSIONAL THROMBOCYTOPENIA: This type of thrombocytopenia occurs when a big blood transfusion replaces more blood than the body can use in a day which in turn might leave the patient with low platelets. 
  • DISTRIBUTIONAL THROMBOCYTOPENIA: When platelets become stuck in the spleen, the condition known as low platelet levels occur. Approximately 30% of platelets are typically found in the spleen. Approximately 90% of platelets may be located in the spleen when it becomes enlarged.
  • PSUEDOTHROMBOCYTOPENIA: This sort of condition is not thrombocytopenia. This occurs when a blood test error causes platelets to appear low when they are not. 

Symptoms of Thrombocytopenia

Thrombocytopenia is asymptomatic for the majority of the time. Nevertheless, if the body shows symptoms, they may include:

  • BRUISES and BLOTCHES: Large regions of bleeding beneath the skin that do not turn white upon pressure may be present. Additionally, you may notice what appears to be bruising from a bump or a blow. Over time, they could turn from blue or purple to yellow or green. They originate from the inside, where little blood vessels suddenly burst. These are known by the medical term purpura
  • BLEEDING: Usually, this originates from the nose or gums. During the menstrual cycle, thrombocytopenia may also result in heavier or longer periods or breakthrough bleeding. There’s a chance that the stool or urine also might contain blood.
  • FLAT & RED SPOTS ON SKIN: These pinhead-sized spots, which can occur in clusters, are most visible on the legs and feet. Physicians may refer to them as petechiae. Petechiae do not turn white when pressed. 
  • EXHAUSTION: A person won’t feel exhausted and lethargic by low platelets alone. However, exhaustion can also be a symptom of other illnesses that lower platelets.
  • SPLEEN ENLARGEMENT: This will be present when the spleen is retaining platelets, which might contribute to low platelet levels.
  • BLOOD in VOMIT: Hematemesis, often known as blood in the vomit, is an indication of upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

Thrombocytopenia Treatment

The duration of thrombocytopenia might be days or years. Treatment might not be necessary for those with moderate thrombocytopenia. Treatment for individuals with thrombocytopenia is contingent upon the cause and severity of the condition.

Treating the underlying issue or medicine that is causing your thrombocytopenia may be a solution. For instance, your physician may recommend a new blood thinner if you have heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.

Additional therapies might include:

  • PLATELET or BLOOD TRANSFUSION: The doctor may suggest transfusions of packed red blood cells or platelets to replace lost blood if the platelet count drops too low.
  • MEDICATION: The healthcare provider may recommend medication to increase the platelet count if the disease is linked to an immune system issue.
  • SURGICAL PROCEDURES: If non-operative measures are ineffective, the physician may suggest a surgical procedure.
  • EXCHANGE OF PLASMA: Plasma exchange may be necessary in the event of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, which is a medical emergency.


Low platelet counts, or thrombocytopenia, might make a person more susceptible to problems like excessive bleeding and bruises. An internal hemorrhage or heart attack is more likely in cases of severe thrombocytopenia. It’s critical to comprehend the cause of low platelet counts if suffering from this illness. The reason for the low platelet count can be discussed by the healthcare professional, along with possible treatment choices. They’ll also go over lifestyle modifications that might raise the platelet counts.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What causes thrombocytopenia?

Thrombocytopenia can be brought on by anything that causes you to have fewer platelets than necessary. It can be brought on by the immune system attacking your platelets and also due to the consumption of certain medications.

2. What are the complications of thrombocytopenia?

Individuals who suffer from severe thrombocytopenia may be more susceptible to the following conditions:

  • Thrombocytopenia can result in severe internal bleeding, such as bleeding in the brain or gastrointestinal tract.
  • Thrombocytopenia may cause your heart to get less blood. 

3. What steps can I take to lower my chance of thrombocytopenia?

It is crucial to ascertain whether you are taking any medications or have any medical conditions that raise your risk of thrombocytopenia. Ask your doctor if there are any drugs or activities you should stay away from if you have any of them.

4. When should I seek medical help?

Thrombocytopenia symptoms can appear suddenly or gradually. Additionally, it could result in bleeding throughout your body. Seek medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms: 

  • New bruises or unusual bleeding; these changes in your body may indicate thrombocytopenia.
  • You exhibit additional infection-related symptoms, such as fever. There is a higher risk of infection if you have undergone a splenectomy.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.


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