Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Count) - Causes

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What causes thrombocytopenia?

Low platelet counts or thrombocytopenia, can be caused by a variety of reasons. In general, they can be divided into:

  1. decreased platelet production,
  2. increased platelet destruction or consumption, or
  3. increased splenic sequestration (capturing of circulating platelets in the spleen).

Some of the most common and important causes of thrombocytopenia are outlined below.

Return to Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Count)

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Comment from: 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: July 08

I went to the emergency room (ER) with kidney stones and found to have thrombocytopenia, a platelet count of 13. I was admitted to hospital and the platelets went down to 12 overnight. I was kept in the hospital and given 4 platelet transfusions to get my levels up to 35 so I could have an axillary lymph node biopsy (worried about bleeding if levels weren't raised), as I had enlarged lymph nodes axillary, inguinal, and in abdomen. I was discharged after surgery. Follow up with hematologist explained that biopsy normal and my platelet level had dropped back to 25. I was started on 120 mg of prednisone daily to lower my immune system to stop my body from killing my platelets. Prednisone worked for about 8 days raising my level to 102. Almost immediately I started having some side effects from the prednisone. Then my levels dropped to 62. I had my 1st Rituxan infusion and will get platelets rechecked tomorrow. I am currently on 2 steroids which is less than ideal. With prednisone I developed facial swelling, insomnia, mood swings, and severe abdominal pain. The day after the Rituxan infusion I developed lower extremity weakness and swelling. I fell and cut up my feet and knees due weakness (thank goodness, I didn't bleed profusely). If my platelets levels are rising tomorrow I can wean off of the prednisone. So thankful that I have an amazing hematologist that has explained every step of the process, and the possible next steps (spleen removal). Just super frustrated with the Idiopathic part of the diagnosis. I have a history of kidney stones, but other than that no medical history (personal or family). As I currently work in Healthcare I have not been able to work due to my lowered immune system. This experience has made me appreciate my good health, and be thankful that have a diagnosis that is manageable with medications and lifestyle changes. It can always be worse. Stay positive!

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Comment from: DGPickett, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 25

A tick gave me babesiosis and my platelet count dropped to 30K but antibiotics quickly reversed the thrombocytopenia. I also had fever and chills. Luckily, the Babesia colonies are visible under a normal microscope and are 100 percent treatable.

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