In this brief guide, we will discuss the question “Do low platelets make you feel tired” and find out some information related to the disorder Thrombocytopenia (Low platelets).
Do low platelets make you feel tired?
Low platelets make you feel tired because platelets are an important part of your blood which carry oxygen to all the important parts of your body, including your muscles and brain, and also take care of clotting and bleeding, and low numbers of these structures can even be life-threatening.
When your muscles and brain are low on oxygen due to not enough platelets in your blood, you can feel tired and lazy, and the condition can worsen further if you do not seek immediate treatment.
What does Low platelet count mean? Definitions and meaning of low platelets
Low platelet count is medically known as Thrombocytopenia.
It causes fatigue, among other things, which makes you feel like not doing anything.
Symptoms and signs of thrombocytopenia may also be bleeding and not clotting in time after getting hurt.
Thrombocytopenia or low platelet count is when there is lower than a normal number of platelets (less than 150,000 platelets per microliter) in the blood.
Thrombocytopenia can be an inherited or acquired condition and can occur in situations such as when there is the use of certain drugs.
The Causes of thrombocytopenia can be divided into three broad groups depending on how it happens:
· Diminished production (can be caused by viral infections, vitamin deficiencies, aplastic anemia, drug-induced)
· Increased destruction (can be caused by certain drugs, idiopathic, pregnancy, immune system, heparin [HIT])
· Sequestration (caused by neonatal, enlarged spleen, pregnancy, gestational)
Symptoms of Thrombocytopenia
The symptoms of Thrombocytopenic may include:
· Fatigue or laziness, not being able to do much
· Purpura (easily bruised skin or excessive bruising)
· Petechiae (tiny areas of bleeding into the skin that causes in small reddish spots)
· Prolonged bleeding from minor cuts and injuries, lack of clotting of blood
· Jaundice (A liver problem)
· Heavy menstrual bleeding that is unusual
· Blood in the urine or stool
· Spontaneous bleeding from the gums or nose
· Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)
· DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
What is Thrombocytopenia?
Thrombocytopenia refers to when there are lower than a normal number of platelets (less than 150,000 platelets per microliter) in the blood.
In general, the normal platelet counts range from 150,000 to 400,000 per microliter in the blood.
You might wonder what platelets are, in the first place. Platelets are important cellular parts of the blood apart from white and red blood cells.
Platelets play a crucial role in clotting and bleeding.
Platelets are created in the bone marrow like the other cells in the blood.
Structures in the bone marrow, called megakaryocytes give rise to platelets.
Platelets are fragments of megakaryocytes and are released into the bloodstream.
Some circulating platelets make up about two-thirds of the platelets that are eventually released from the bone marrow.
Yet more platelets are typically stored (sequestered) in the spleen.
Platelets, in general, are removed from circulation after their brief lifespan in the blood (7 to 10 days.
The number of platelets in the blood is what is called the platelet count and it stays normally between 150,000 to 400,000 per microliter (one-millionth of a liter) of blood.
Platelet counts of a number less than 150,000 are termed thrombocytopenia.
In other cases, there can be more platelets than required, and any number greater than 400,000 is called thrombocytosis.
An important process that platelets are involved in is coagulation.
Platelets initiate a sequence of reactions that lead to the formation of a blood clot when someone suffers an injury.
Platelets circulate in the blood vessels and are activated if there is any bleeding or injury in the body.
Curiously, even though the platelet numbers are decreased in thrombocytopenia, their function often remains the same.
There are, however, disorders, that can cause impaired platelet function even in the presence of normal platelet count.
Even under Thrombocytopenia, when platelet counts fall below 10,000, it is called Severe thrombocytopenia and it can result in spontaneous bleeding.
When a person is suffering from mild thrombocytopenia, they may experience no adverse effects in the clotting or bleeding processes.
It is important to bear in mind that these effects also tend to vary with different low platelet counts from person to person.
How is Thrombocytopenia diagnosed?
Thrombocytopenia or Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia, which refers to low platelet count without any known cause, can be diagnosed in a number of ways.
ITP is suspected when a patient comes in with specific complaints and shows no history of any other disorders or substance use that would otherwise cause such a problem.
The doctor may use a number of diagnostic means to diagnose Thrombocytopenia, some of which are given below.
The doctor may ask some questions regarding what symptoms, most importantly any bleeding you may have noticed.
They may ask when did you first see them, or if anything makes them better or worse, information about any medications and supplements you may be taking.
They may also want to know if you have had any shots in the last month or a blood transfusion, or used drugs with a needle?
Some questions may feel scary but you have to try to answer them as honestly as you can so a diagnosis can be made.
They may also want to know if you have any family history of excessive bleeding and other blood-related disorders.
The doctor may also check for signs of bleeding, both internal and external, and palpate your stomach to see if your spleen seems big.
There are some tests to check for low platelet levels as well:
· CBC (complete blood count). This test aims to measure the total number of your red and white blood cells as well as platelets.
· Blood smear is a test used to see how your platelets look under a microscope.
· Bone marrow test. In some cases, the doctor may need to use a very fine needle to draw a small amount of liquid bone marrow and assess it for cells that may not be working as they should.
Treatment for Low Platelet count
Low platelet count is not something that should be taken lightly or ignored, and if you find that you are suffering from this condition you need to make sure you get treatment right away.
First, the doctor will need to figure out exactly why you are suffering from low platelet counts.
If the cause for the low platelet count is an infection they will likely give you supplements to raise the number of platelets along with the antibiotics and other medication that you are taking.
There are other treatments as well, one is Corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids usually include Dexamethasone or prednisone and are typically prescribed to raise a patient’s platelet count.
The patient has to take it once a day and it usually comes in the form of a pill or tablet.
With this medication, an increase or at the very least, normalized, the platelet count is generally seen within 2 weeks of prescribing the medicine, especially with high-dose dexamethasone.
However, the dosage will likely be reduced gradually over the next 4 to 8 weeks.
In some cases, this treatment may have to be repeated, but in most cases, once the platelet count is normal, the patient just gets better eventually as energy levels come back to normal.
Like all medication, there are some side effects to corticosteroids as well, and these usually include irritability, upset stomach, sleep issues, weight gain, puffy cheeks, increased urination, a lower bone density that manifests in easy bone breaks or too much pain when the person falls, and acne.
IVIG or Intravenous Immuno-globulin is another effective treatment, especially if the platelet count does not come up with prednisone or if the person is not able to tolerate steroids.
Another situation where this can be used is the platelet count falls after the person is done with their treatment of steroids.
The advantage of IVIG is that it can raise your platelet count quicker than steroids or other treatments, however, it can cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and headache.
Surgery is one of the less taken options for a low platelet count.
If a patient has ITP and all other treatments, including steroids and IVIG have failed, they may have to get an operation to remove their spleen.
The spleen is responsible for the removal of steroids, so taking it out can give your platelet count a healthy count.
However, this surgery is not easily recommended as this can hamper someone’s ability to fight infections effectively.
Complications of low platelet count
Low platelet count, left untreated, can give rise to a multitude of complications, which is why it is suggested that it get resolved as soon as possible.
In some cases however it might not get resolved for lack of resources or other issues, and in this case, there can be several complications.
Cuts and wounds may not stop bleeding and one may suffer severe blood loss and the most minor injuries can become life-threatening.
Excessive bleeding from injuries or even without injuries can increase the risk for anemia, especially in women with low platelet count, menstruation can become a huge risk factor.
The tendency to get bruises may get so bad that one may have to stay away from one’s favorite activities.
There is a tendency to get tiredness with the most minimal work and this interferes with people’s daily activities. In addition, the anemia from blood loss contributes further to fatigue and weakness.
In severe cases, the person may even experience internal bleeding which can lead to organ failure eventually, if unchecked. If this bleeding happens in the brain it can be fatal instantly.
The risk of getting a serious infection increases drastically in those with low platelet counts.
Lastly, as would be expected in someone suffering from a blood-related disorder, life expectancy can be greatly reduced.
In this brief guide, we discussed the question “Do low platelets make you feel tired” and found out some information related to the disorder Thrombocytopenia (Low platelets). Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Do low platelets make you feel tired?
What is the most common cause of low platelet count?
The most common cause of low platelets is a condition called immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Infections can also be a major cause of low platelet counts.
What are the effects of low platelet count?
The effects of low platelet count include easy or excessive bruising, superficial bleeding into the skin that appears as a rash, prolonged bleeding from cuts, bleeding from your gums or nose too often, and weakness or fatigue.
Why does thrombocytopenia cause fatigue?
Thrombocytopenia causes fatigue due to anemia (lack of red blood cells) and related iron deficiencies caused by low platelet counts.
What causes platelets to drop?
Platelet counts can drop due to infections, bone marrow not producing enough platelets, or the body destroying too many of its own platelets due to immune system disorder.
When should I be concerned about low platelet count?
You should be concerned about low platelet count because when it gets too low you are at risk for hemorrhage, or internal bleeding. Numbers below 10,000 are considered under the category of severe thrombocytopenia.