Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Count) in Men
If the skin gets broken or injured, platelets in the blood come together to form a clot which helps in stopping the bleeding. When the body lacks enough platelets, the body cannot form clots resulting in a massive blood loss. This inability of the body to stop the blood loss due to lack of enough platelets is known as Thrombocytopenia.
Symptoms of Low Platelet Count
The symptoms of low platelet count completely depend on the platelet count within the body. In milder cases such as pregnancy where the platelet count gets reduced, no symptoms are visible. In case of severe cases, the bleeding occurred due to injury just does not stop leading to the requirement of immediate medical attention. In case of low platelet count, the patient may experience-
- Brown, red or purple coloured bruises called as purpura
- Bleeding of the nose
- A rash with purple or red dots called as petechiae
- Bleeding of the gums
- Bleeding from rectum
- Bleeding from wounds which does not stop for a large time
In serious cases, the patient may even bleed internally. The symptoms or signs for this internal bleeding include-
- Bloody or dark vomit
- Blood in stools
- Blood in urine
Causes of Low Platelet Count
The causes for low platelet count are:
1) Problems in Bone Marrow- Thespongy tissue residing in the bone is known as bone marrow. Bone Marrow is the place where the platelets are produced. If the bone marrow faces some problems, it may cause it to produce less of platelets resulting in the blood having low platelet count. And the reasons for the problem of the bone marrow include:
- Aplastic anemia
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency
- Folate deficiency
- Iron deficiency
- Viral infections, and infection like chicken pox or HIV
- Exposure to radiation or chemotherapy
- Heavy alcoholism
- Cirrhosis of Liver
2) Platelet Destruction-There might be a case due to certain medications such as anti-seizure medicines or diuretics where the body itself destroys too many platelets.
As seen, men are more likely to suffer from Thrombocytopenia due to their lifestyle.
Diagnosis of Low platelet count
The doctor will first perform a physical examination of the patient where the body will be thoroughly checked for unusual bruising. The doctor will also examine the abdomen area to identify if there is any enlarged spleen which is one of the causes for low platelet count. The doctor will also try to identify the family history, as this disease also tends to be genetic. In order to confirm this disease, the doctor will ask the patient to undergo the following tests
- Blood Tests: The doctor will try to identify the platelet count using CBC (complete blood count) test. The doctor may also test the blood for platelet antibodies- the proteins which destroy platelets in the blood. The doctor might also perform the blood clotting tests such as prothrombin time and the partial thromboplastin time.
- Ultrasound: The doctor might order an ultrasound test if the doctor suspects an enlarged spleen.
- Biopsy and Bone Marrow Aspiration: In this test, a small needle is inserted into the bone marrow to take a sample and the sample is then tested to identify the problem of the bone marrow.
Treatment for Low Platelet count
The treatment for low platelet count entirely depends on the severity of the condition. If the condition is mild, the doctor may not ask the patient to undergo any treatment. However he might suggest the patient some preventive measures like:
- Limiting the consumption of alcohol
- Avoiding contact sports
- Stopping or switching certain medications
If the condition is severe, the doctor may ask the patient to get medical treatment like:
- Blood transfusion or platelet transfusion
- Immune globulin
- Drugs that suppress the immune system
- Corticosteroids for blocking platelet antibodies
- Splenectomy for surgically removing the spleen