Platelets are blood cells that are responsible for the process of adhesion, i.e. forming a blood clot at the site of a vessel injury. Platelets are made by a spongy center inside your bones called bone marrow along with red and white blood cells. The optimal number of them is between 150 000 – 450 000. Their lifespan is usually around 8-10 days when they’re renewed.
Both low and high platelet (thrombocyte) count indicate that you should further investigate its cause. Thrombocytopenia happens when your bone marrow makes a smaller amount of platelets than it should. The cause may be different medicines, pregnancy, cancer etc.
If you’re diagnosed with thrombocythemia or thrombocytosis it means that your platelet count is high. The exact cause of thrombocythemia is not known. Thrombocytosis, on the other hand, is usually caused by infection, inflammation or some type of medicine. Therefore, what makes it different than the previous one is that it is not caused directly by the bone marrow abnormalities but rather by conditions in your body that make it act abnormally.
Physiological thrombocytosis and its causes
Sometimes high platelet count doesn’t have to be attributed to any serious disease. In fact, it could be caused by exercise, stress or adrenaline in which case it is known as Physiological Thrombocytosis.
Reactive thrombocytosis and its causes
Reactive thrombocytosis presents elevated platelet count that your body has developed due to another disorder taking place. This sort of thrombocytosis can be a result of different issues your body may have. Infections such as pneumonia pyelonephritis, osteomyelitis, chronic wound infections and tuberculosis are some of the causes of reactive thrombocytosis.
However, sometimes patients experience shortness of breath, stabbing chest pain, confusion, headache and excessive sweating. These symptoms vary depending on the type of pneumonia.
If you’re coping with viral pneumonia it will pretty much display the same symptoms as influenza while bacterial pneumonia manifests itself through extremely high body temperature (105 degrees F), increased breathing and sweating and blueness of lips and nail beds.
There are many risk factors that could have you catch pneumonia and some of them are: working in a nursing facility, recent viral disease, cigarette smoking and weakened immune system.
Pyelonephritis is a kidney infection. It is usually caused when urinary tract infection progresses from the lower urinary tract that involves bladder to the upper urinary system where kidneys are settled.
First symptoms of pyelonephritis are painful, frequent and urgent urination. In the advanced stages, you may also feel back pain, fever, chills, nausea and confusion.
Sometimes it causes the urine to become cloudy and smell foul. It is also possible that you will notice some blood in your urine.
Septic arthritis or purulent arthritis is a disease attacking joints. It is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi that already have affected other parts of the body and have spread through the blood flow to the joints.
Some of the widely known contributors to the disease are staphylococcus and streptococcus, hepatitis A, B and C, and coxsackie.
Young children and the elderly are the most susceptible to the disease as well as people with immune system disorders, previously injured joints, open wounds, cancer or diabetes.
The symptoms are fatigue, feeling chills, feeling extreme pain in the joints and the inability to move them as well as swelling and warmth in the joint area.
Osteomyelitis is a rare infection of the bones caused by Staphylococcus aureus that can spread to them from an affected area in the body. You can also contract the disease if you have an open fracture or surgery that exposes the bone. It affects both young and older people and the ones that suffer from diabetes, HIV, alcoholism or are abusing intravenous drugs. Symptoms of the disease include fatigue, nausea, tenderness, redness and warmth around the affected bone as well as swelling and lost range of motion.
Tuberculosis is a contagious lung disease that mostly affects lungs. It is caused by certain bacteria that don’t necessarily affect only the pulmonary system. They can also contaminate spine, kidney or brain.
Symptoms include coughing that lasts for a long time, fewer, chest pain, weight loss and night sweats. This disease is not always contagious.
If you are diagnosed with Inactive TB, that means that you have the bacteria that cause tuberculosis but aren’t detrimental to your health yet. In such situations, it is essential that it is treated correctly and duly.
On the other hand, if you have Active TB this means the bacteria are awakened. Nowadays even this is treatable with great success if you discover it early.
Risk factors for catching tuberculosis include the area where you work (health care and residential care facilities, refugee camps), substance abuse, smoking, lack of medical care and weakened the immune system.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that is caused by the weakened immune system. It attacks not only joints but also eyes, skin, lungs, heart and blood vessels. The symptoms are swollen joints and their stiffness, fatigue and weight loss.
Inflammatory bowel disease attacks your digestive tract. It manifests through fatigue, weight loss, diarrhea and stomach pain which can be very debilitating. The exact causes of the disease are unknown. It is believed that heredity plays a major role. Also, it is considered that this is a reaction caused by bacteria that impair the immune system which causes digestive tract’s reaction.
Cirrhosis is an inflammatory disease that happens when healthy tissues of your liver are replaced by scar tissues. Eventually, your liver will fail to work and this is, unfortunately, fatal. The only way to cure the cirrhosis is liver transplantation. It is caused by a number of factors: being overweight, weakened immune system, alcohol abuse etc. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, easy bleeding, yellow discoloration in skin and eyes etc.
Lack of iron as a contributor to thrombocytosis
Iron deficiency anemia could make the number of the platelets in your body skyrocket. Some common causes of iron deficiency could be pregnancy, blood loss, lack of iron in your diet and an inability to absorb iron.
Prematurely born children and women are the most vulnerable to have the iron deficiency. Kids who came to our world too early don’t get enough iron from breast milk. When it comes to women, their menstruation can cost them a lot of iron.
Speen removal spikes the number of platelets
Splenectomy is a process of spleen removal and could cause high platelet count. This usually normalizes after a few weeks or months.
Primary (essential) thrombocythemia is much rarer than the reactive thrombocytosis. Scientists haven’t singled out a specific reason for which this disease appears. However, what they are familiar with is that the disease starts when the bone marrow starts producing too many platelets due to a certain gene mutation.
Women and people over 50 are especially at risk of this disease. What makes it harmful is the fact that it could cause blood clotting for no apparent reason and cause strokes and heart attacks in worst case scenario. The symptoms of the disease usually go unnoticed in the first stages.
Depending on where the clot is formed you can feel light-headedness or dizziness, headache, weakness, fainting, chest pain, enlarged spleen, vision impairment, numbness of feet and burning pain. Sometimes the symptoms also include bloody urine or stool, easy bruising and nose bleeding.
Chronic myeloid leukemia
This disease starts in your blood cells when 2 chromosomes switch places and make a new one. Then these chromosomes stimulate the production of white blood cells (leukemia cells) that do not work as they should and cuts short space for the healthy blood cells. The symptoms are sometimes very sneaky because they hide behind some generic signs such as tiredness, weight loss, and fever which patients sometimes take too lightly and write them off as flu indicators.
This is another type of blood cancer that thickens your blood and causes blood clots. Some of the symptoms are itchiness, excessive sweating, blurred vision, weakness, shortness of breath, numbness or tingling sensation in your hands etc.
This disease is started by a genetic mutation in your blood cells. The cause for the mutation itself is unknown. As a result, the spongy bone marrow becomes scarred and there’s an overabundance of white blood cells in your blood. Some of the symptoms include tiredness, enlarged spleen, easy bruising and bleeding, night sweats, fever and bone pain.
Medications that cause thrombocytosisEpinephrine is a medication that is used when a patient is having a serious allergic reaction to an insect sting, food, drugs or other substances.
Tretinoin is counted among medications named retinoids that are used to treat acne.Vincristine is a medication that is used to treat acute leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, neuroblastoma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, and Wilms tumor.
Heparin is an anticoagulant that is used to prevent blood clotting, for example, before surgeries.