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(Low Platelet Count)

Thrombocytopenia Overview

Thrombocyte is the medical term for platelet. Thrombocytopenia means a lower platelet count in the blood compared to the normal range. Thrombocytosis refers to a greater number of platelets compared to the normal range.

Platelets are important elements in the blood that are important for blood coagulation (clotting and prevention of bleeding). The normal platelet count ranges between 150,000 and 450,000 per microliter (one-millionth of a liter). Although the number of platelets is decreased, their function may remain intact in most cases of thrombocytopenia.

All blood cells (white cells, red cells, and platelets) are made in the bone marrow. Platelets are derived from larger cells in the bone marrow called megakaryocytes. Fragments of megakaryocytes are platelets, which are released into the bloodstream. Only about 2/3 of platelets released into the blood stream circulate in the blood, and the remaining 1/3 is typically captured by the spleen. The life cycle of platelets is usually about 7-10 days; therefore, the old ones are continuously being replaced by new ones.

Picture of a blood clot
Picture of a blood clot
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/29/2014

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