THROMBOCYTOPENIA SOLICITORS - MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE COMPENSATION
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Thrombocytopenia is a collection of diseases that result in a low amount of platelets in a person's body. Platelets are tiny cells that coalesce to help clot the blood. If you have thrombocytopenia, you often have abnormal bleeding problems.
There are three causes of low platelets in general: 1) there can be a low production of platelets in the bone marrow resulting in a low platelet count. 2) There can be an increased breakdown of intravascular platelets, in which means the platelets are destroyed in the bloodstream. 3) There can be an increased breakdown of platelets in the liver or the spleen, which is extravascular destruction of platelets.
The disorders that can be related to the loss of platelets in the body include aplastic anaemia. This is when the bone marrow, which makes platelets, shuts off production of the platelets and other cells of the bloodstream so that there are few if any platelets made. If there is cancer of the bone marrow, very few platelets can be made in the bone marrow in lieu of cancer cells being made instead.
Cirrhosis of the liver means that platelet cells get chewed up and don't circulate normally in the blood due to their destruction in the liver. They can be destroyed in the spleen as well, so that few platelets will be present in the blood stream. A folate deficiency can contribute to a lack of platelet production and vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to a lack of production of platelets. Myelodysplasia can cause a low platelet count. Certain drugs, such as chemotherapy agents, can cause a low production of platelets as well.
Increased platelet destruction can be caused by disseminated intravascular coagulation or DIC. This happens when there is clotting all over the body that reduces the platelet count due to overuse of platelets in the clotting process. This results in secondary bleeding due to a low platelet count. Drug induced non-immune thrombocytopenia is when drugs cause a lack of platelet due to destruction of platelets. There can also be drug induced immune thrombocytopenia, in which antibodies are made against platelets that are then destroyed. Hyperslenism is when the platelets get clogged in the spleen and are secondarily destroyed in the spleen, making no platelets left until the bloodstream. There is a condition of immune thrombocytopenic purpura, in which the immune system destroys platelets, leaving few platelets in the bloodstream.
Finally, a condition of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura results in a low platelet count due to small blood clots forming in the small vessels of the body so that there is a low platelet count. It can be caused by not enough of an enzyme in the body involved in blood clotting so that too much blood clotting occurs. There is bleeding under the skin so that purple spots show up, known as purpura.
.The symptoms of thrombocytopenia include bruising under the skin, with or without any type of trauma to the skin. Nose bleeds or bleeding in the mouth or gums can be a result of low platelet counts. A rash from petechiae or pinpoint red spots from tiny bleeding points in the skin can occur as a symptom. Mild thrombocytopenia can show up in blood tests only but do not show up any symptoms until the platelet count reaches less than 25,000.
Doctors can check for thrombocytopenia by doing a CBC with platelets that reveals a low platelet count. Doctors go from there and do a bone marrow biopsy to see if a lot of platelets are being made by the bone marrow or if no platelets or few platelets are being made by the bone marrow. This can tell if the problem is a lack of production or a excess destruction of platelets. Platelet-associated antibodies can be checked to see if an immune problem is involved in the low platelet count.
Treatment of thrombocytopenia depends on the cause. Platelet transfusions are especially helpful in patients who are bleeding and who have a lack of production of platelets. Immune suppressors can be given in cases of low platelets secondary to an immune disease. The spleen can be removed in cases of splenic sequestration of platelets. In other cases, the underlying disease must be managed in order to bring up the platelet count.
The outcome of thrombocytopenia depends on the cause and whether or not treatment is available. If there is no good treatment, the individual can bleed to death.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here