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Thrombocytopenia

Related Terms

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Background

  • Thrombocytopenia is a general term for blood disorders that cause low levels of platelets in the blood. A platelet is a type of blood cell that helps the blood clot. These cells clump together at the site of a blood vessel injury in order to prevent blood loss. Therefore, thrombocytopenia is often associated with abnormal bleeding.
  • Healthy individuals have anywhere from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of circulating blood in the body. The bone marrow continually produces new platelets because they only live about 10 days. Thrombocytopenia occurs when the platelet count falls below 20,000 per microliter of blood. The risk of bleeding increases as the number of platelets decreases. When there are less than 10,000 platelets per microliter of circulating blood, the condition is considered severe, and internal bleeding may occur.
  • Thrombocytopenia can occur by itself, or it can develop as a complication of another disease, such as cancer or a viral infection. Drug-induced thrombocytopenia may occur in response to medication (such as heparin). In some cases, thrombocytopenia is a chronic (long-lasting) condition that persists for years. However, it may develop suddenly and dramatically in some individuals.
  • Thrombocytopenia usually improves after treating the underlying cause. In some cases, medications or surgery can help treat chronic thrombocytopenia. If bleeding is severe, some patients may require a blood transfusion.

Types of Thrombocytopenia

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Causes

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Symptoms

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Complications

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.