What Are the Basics of Thrombocytopenia?

What is the definition of thrombocytopenia?

Thrombocytopenia can occur when there is not enough platelets, cells in your blood that stick together to help it clot.

It is not a big problem for most people, but in some severe cases, you may bleed too much if you get injured or spontaneously in your eyes, gums, or bladder.

 

What causes thrombocytopenia?

There are so many causes of thrombocytopenia, which are:

  • Aplastic anemia: It is a kind of blood disorder that affects bone marrow.
  • Cancer: Cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma can damage bone marrow.
  • Chemotherapy or radiation treatment: These kinds of treatments destroy stem cells that form platelets.
  • Platelet-lowering diseases: For example, the Wiskott-Aldrich or May-Hegglin syndrome.
  • Virus: For example, rubella, HIV, Epstein-Barr, mumps, chickenpox, etc.
  • Autoimmune diseases: Autoimmune diseases such as lupus or idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) can attack healthy cells.
  • Medicines: Medicines such as antibiotics and antiseizure drugs can cause thrombocytopenia.

What are the symptoms of thrombocytopenia?

For some people with thrombocytopenia, they may not have any symptoms. But if it does have symptoms, they may be as follows:

Bleeding
Bleeding mostly occurs from gums or nose. Women with thrombocytopenia may have heavier or longer periods.

Blotches and Bruises
These blotches and bruises are caused by sudden leaking of tiny blood vessels from the inside, they could be blue or purple and change to yellow or green over time.

Red, flat spots on your skin
It occurs mostly on your legs and feet, and appear in clumps.

 

How to treat thrombocytopenia?

There are a lot of treatment options for thrombocytopenia, some of them are as follows:

Corticosteroids
Dexamethasone is typically prescribed to raise your platelet count.

IVIG (intravenous immune globulin)
If you can not tolerate steroids or can’t get your platelet count up with prednisone, you can take these medicines through an IV.

Rituximab (Rituxan)
This drug is known as a biologic therapy. It is advisable when you have your spleen removed but still have low platelets counts.

Surgery
Having a surgery of removing your spleen out can give your platelet count a boost, but it doesn’t always work.

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