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(Low Platelet Count)

What is Thrombocytopenia?

  • 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 12/2/2015

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Red blood cells

Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Count) Treatment

When is a blood transfusion needed?

You may need a blood transfusion if you lose too much blood, such as through:

  • Injury or major surgery.
  • An illness that causes bleeding, such as a bleeding ulcer.
  • An illness that destroys blood cells, such as hemolytic anemia or thrombocytopenia.


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