Thrombocytopenia is a disorder in which there are too few
platelets and the blood does not clot properly. People who have
thrombocytopenia may bleed a lot from an injury because they have an abnormally
low number of platelets.
Some conditions or diseases lead to
thrombocytopenia because they destroy a person's platelets or interfere with
their production. Certain medicines may also cause thrombocytopenia. A person
who has a low platelet count with no known cause is said to have idiopathic
thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).
Symptoms of thrombocytopenia
Easy or excessive
Pinpoint-sized red spots (petechiae) around the feet and
ankles. In more serious cases of thrombocytopenia, the spots are larger and
more widespread (purpura).
Treatment for low platelets starts with finding a cause
that can be eliminated, such as changing a drug the person is taking or
treating an infection. Treatment may include platelet injections into a vein,
called platelet transfusion; taking medicines to stop destruction of the
platelets; taking medicine that helps the body make more platelets; or surgery
to remove the spleen.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology