Platelets are disc-shaped structures in the blood that can also be called
thrombocytes. They are formed in the red bone marrow and prevent fluid (blood)
loss by initiating a chain of events that result in blood clotting.
The normal platelet count is between 150,000 – 400,000 per cubic millimetre.
A low count would be 100,000 – 150,000 pcm but often counts are not considered
serious until they drop to 50,000 pcm or below.
The average life span of a platelet in the blood is approximately 10 days,
therefore a low platelet count needs to be monitored frequently to gauge the
seriousness of a low count or to gauge an improvement Many situations will
resolve themselves naturally but a persistently low count needs to be looked
into more thoroughly.
Many factors can influence an individual’s platelet count. Factors that
need to be considered are the use of some drugs, quinine or quinidine being the
most common culprits but also chemotherapy drugs, diuretics, anti-seizure and
some antibiotic medications. Certain viral infections, heavy alcohol use,
deficiency of vitamin B12 or folic acid, kidney failure, bone marrow failure or
abnormal production of antibodies such as in Rheumatoid arthritis or other auto
The main effect of a low platelet count is an increased risk of bleeding.
When haemorrhage is a possibility then transfusion with platelet
concentrates is required, but where there is no major haemorrhage the treatment
is aimed at correcting the suspected cause of the low platelet count. If you
suspect that medication you are on may be having an effect, ask your GP for more
information. If viral infection is suspected then there is no orthodox
treatment but herbal treatments work extremely well.
Some cases of low platelet count have been seen to increase markedly when
people supplement their diet with Barley Grass powder or capsules (two teaspoons
or at least six capsules daily). This could have been due to a boost in the
general health of the patients concerned but possibly also to an increase in
Vitamin B12. See page on ‘Vitamin B12’.
I have also seen great results in increasing platelet counts with continued use of colostrum. This was a specific Colostrum with added immune enhancing components.
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