Platelets are small, irregular shaped cell fragments present in the blood. Platelets are also known as Thrombocytes. A normal platelet count in a healthy individual is between 150,000 and 450,000 per μl (microlitre) of blood. Platelets are responsible for the clotting of blood. Maintaining proper platelet count is critical, as low count could lead to excessive bleeding that could prove fatal. On the other hand, excessive platelets could lead to thrombosis, of blood clots in vessels leading to stroke, heart ailments and could block blood vessels in other parts of the body.
A low platelet count is associated with internal bleeding. This situation is far more dangerous than having a low platelet count.
Causes of Decreased or Low Platelet Count
There are several reasons why some people have low platelet count:
- Medications: Aspirin is known to contribute to the reduction of platelet count. Ibuprofen is also known to lower platelet count, although the effect is not long lasting.
- Anemia: The effect of anemia is of particular concern to women, especially during their menstrual period, wherein their platelet count are severely low. Anemia demands special attention when it begins to rob the body of iron.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy and other similar medical treatments can also cause a reduction in the platelet count.
- Dengue: Common in tropical areas in Asia and Africa, dengue is a mosquito-borne disease and can severely dent the level of platelets in the body.
- Idiopathic (no known cause).
- Autoimmune: There are auto antibodies within the body which destroy the platelets, thus reducing platelet count.
How to Increase Platelet Count
Here are some ways that will help prevent platelet count from dropping:
- Take a lot of vitamin C supplements. You can obtain vitamin C from fruits and vegetables. Because vitamin C is water soluble, it can be easily absorbed by the body and will immediately help in restoring the body’s platelet count.
- Herbal medications are also helpful in restoring platelet count. Pound the herb with pestle and mortar to extract the juice. Although the juice is very bitter and requires a lot of effort downing them, it is worth it. Most people even add sugar to the juice to make it more palatable and easy to drink.
- However, the most common home remedy is to drink the bitter extract from a papaya leaf. Two leaves without the stalk can yield approximately two tablespoons of the extract.
Question: I have tiny red dots on both feet which are recurring. They have not spread above the feet. Is it because of low platelet count. What treatment or diet to treat low platelet count should I follow?
You are suffering from thrombocytopenia or a low platelet count.
- A decreased platelet production within the bone marrow
- An increased peripheral destruction of the platelets
Types of Thrombocytopenia
- Thrombocytopenia could be acute or chronic.
- Acute thrombocytopenia predominantly occurs in children.
- Chronic thrombocytopenia occurs in young adults.
- Easy bruising
- Purpura or red spots
- Epistaxis or nose bleed
- Menorrhagia or prolonged and profuse menstruation
- A major hemorrhage occurs rarely.
- A regular blood count must be done
- Sometimes a bone marrow aspirate is helpful.
Treatment for Low Platelet Count
- The initial treatment comprises of prednisolone. But you have to be extremely cautious and the treatment ought to be conducted under the supervision of a specialist. With this treatment, patients show a moderate response, requiring no other treatment.
- In a large number, surgically removing the spleen becomes necessary.
- A transfusion of platelets to bring back the count to normal.
Diet to Increase Platelet Count:
- Avoid all refined and processed foods – sugar, saturated fats, and aerated drinks to avoid low platelet count. Include fresh and organic foods. This will help in stimulating the body’s internal mechanism and increase platelet count.
- Red foods are your key. Tomatoes, plums, watermelons, cherries and berries are loaded with vitamins and minerals and have strong anti-oxidant properties which helps to raise platelet count.