Thrombocytes or Platelets have a strong yet amazing role to play in your body. Not just in healing wounds but they circulate in your blood with white and red blood cells in your body. Generally, platelets are known to create clots when you get hurt and prevent bleeding. However, they have an even larger function to practice which is still unknown to many. How do platelets aid in the healing of cuts and why it is important to have accurate levels of platelets? Let’s discuss them in detail.
How do platelets aid in the healing of cuts?
Platelets are tiny blood cells that are necessary to stop blood from dripping out when you have cuts and wounds by forming clots. When you get a cut, it breaks down your blood vessels. Your vessels send signals to the platelets to come to the rescue. Platelets run to the damaged site and instantly begin forming barriers of clots to fix it.
The process by which the platelets spread across the blood vessel surface is referred to as adhesion. This happens just like the growth of tentacles; they stick to each other to form a web of sticky cells and grip each other to form a coat around the wound.
It gets interesting to find how they send signals to other platelets to come and help others and make a strong pile of clots. This function is called aggregation.
How are Platelets formed?
Platelets are formed in your bone marrow where white and red blood cells are produced. Bone marrow can be found in the center of your bones, it is a white sticky fluid that helps your bones to move freely just like the oil between a pulley.
As said, platelets are also known as thrombocytes, doctors usually call them thrombus. When platelets are formed and circulated in your blood, they live for a maximum of eight to ten days.
When you examine platelets under a microscope, they look like small flat plates. When you get hurt and you lack the formation of clots, your doctor may need to do a platelet test to determine the complete platelet count in your body. The test will indicate if your bone marrow is producing enough platelets. The right number of platelets can be identified as;
- A per microliter of blood must contain 150,000 to 450,000 platelets for a normal platelet count.
- The risk of continuous bleeding occurs when a total platelet count falls below the rate of 10,000 to 20,000. You may experience a high bleeding frequency when there’s a low platelet count of less than 50,000. When this happens, you would have serious bleeding effects if you get hurt, bruised, or get cut.
- Some examples are there where the bone marrow of some individuals is so strong that they produce more than a million counts of platelets.
What to expect if your platelet readings are high or low
You can expect the following medical conditions associated with the abnormal platelets counts;
- Essential thrombocythemia – In Essential thrombocythemia, your bone marrow tends to produce more than the required number of platelets. People with this Essential thrombocythemia normally produce more than a million platelet counts which eventually backfires and leads to bleeding with a minor stroke. Other symptoms of the heavy platelet count include blood supply blockage due to clotting massively and thickening of the blood. This also affects the heart pumping function as the heart requires more effort to pump the blood through arteries. Due to the thickness of the blood, the heart could not get enough oxygen supply. Doctors do not always know what causes these conditions, but according to a normal understanding, it happens when bone marrow cells change which is called a mutation.
- Thrombocytopenia – In this condition, your bone marrow produces very few platelets. Or your platelets get destroyed due to any other medical condition. If your platelet count is low, you can experience internal bleeding which can be seen as bruises under the skin.
The symptoms also include heavy bleeding from the nose and unstoppable bleeding that occurs when you get a cut. Thrombocytopenia can be a reason for a severe medical conditions such as infection, liver disease, cancer, pregnancy, and an abnormal immune system.
- Secondary thrombocytosis – It is another medical condition that happens due to a high amount of platelet counts. Secondary thrombocytosis is a common problem but does not involve bone marrow as a reason. However, it is more likely to be caused by inflation. Cancers, infections, and some reactions to medicines. The symptoms of this condition are not severe. Once you start recovering from the said diseases, platelets will reverse back to normal. This means it follows a reversible effect.
- Secondary thrombocytosis – Many times a great number of platelets cause severe implications on the individual. However, many rare diseases lead to some severer ones when there’s a normal platelet count but they do not function properly as they should. Oftentimes, continuous use of medicines can cause the condition such as aspirin. This is why it is suggested to use medications after having complete information on whether they affect platelets. Educate if there’s a chance of bleeding if you choose these medications.
Treatment for a low platelet count
A condition where your platelet count gets low is called Thrombocytopenia. This condition can last up to a few days to years. People with a mild condition of Thrombocytopenia may not need to have treatment. The treatment relies on the condition such as what causes a low platelet count and how severely low it is.
When you need treatment, you might be prescribed;
- Platelet or Blood transfusion
- Plasma exchange
Platelets work incredibly in our body and prevent many kinds of germs from getting into your blood by making a protective wall against your skin when it gets wound. You might need to go through treatment if you experience any of the conditions mentioned above.