Platelets are essential in the human body. They aid in blood clotting to stop bleeding in the event a blood vessel gets damaged. Platelets are produced in the bone marrow which is a spongy tissue found inside the bones. The bone marrow has stem cells that either become white blood cells, platelets or red blood cells. To be considered normal, platelet count should range between 150000 and 450000 cells in each microliter of blood. Platelet count that exceeds 450000 cells is viewed as high, a condition referred to as thrombocytosis. There are various causes of this condition but most of them are transient and benign. Here are some common causes of thrombocytosis:
This is a common cause of high platelet count among adults and children. Infection can lead to extreme increase of platelets in the blood, reaching over a million cells in each microliter of blood. Many patients who experience this kind of elevated platelets are asymptomatic though blood clots can also occur in a small number of patients exposed to other risks. In most cases, platelet count goes back to normal after an infection has been treated but this can happen after several weeks. In some instances, patients may experience a rebound effect of thrombocytosis after experiences a low platelet count during a previous infection.
In most cases, hemolytic anemia occurs when red blood cells are destroyed and expunged from the bloodstream even before their lifespan is over. The body may destroy red blood cells as a result of various conditions, diseases and factors – some of which are inherited while others are acquired. Where hemolytic anemia occurs due to formation of tiny red blood cells, the platelet count machine may pick the small cells as platelets during a complete blood count. Iron deficiency can also lead to secondary thrombocytosis.
This is an abnormal bone marrow condition that leads to excessive production of platelets. As a result of high levels of platelets, patients with this condition may experience spontaneous blood clot formations due to augmented stickiness. Also, patients may not relate with clotting factors in a normal way. This may lead to easy bleeding and bruising. People who suffer from essential thrombocythemia are at a high risk of developing leukemia.
Conditions such as inflammatory bowel, rheumatologic disorder and vasculitides may cause an increase in platelet formation. The increased platelet count happens as the body responds to tiny proteins known as cytokines. The proteins are released by cells and send signals to other cells to act. Specifically, platelet production is often stimulated by cytokines known as thrombopoietin and interleukin-6.
This is a rare condition where a patient’s bone marrow generates excess red blood cell. Production of platelets is also notably increased in persons with this condition. As a result of many blood cells, blood becomes abnormally thick, an aspect that reduces blood flow. Some common symptoms of polycythemia vera include headaches, ruddy skin complexion, dizziness, fatigue, chest pain and shortness of breath. This condition is often treated using therapeutic phlebotomy, a periodic process that involves removal of blood to lower the amount of blood cells circulating in the body. People who suffer from this condition often face higher risk of developing acute leukemia.
Cancer can lead to high amounts of platelets and is a known cause of reactive or secondary thrombocytosis. Some of the cancers that have been linked to high platelet counts include lung cancer, stomach cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer and lymphoma. High amounts of platelets in the bloodstream are often considered an indication of prolonged poor prognosis in persons with cancer.