Thrombocytopenia is a disorder in which there are too few platelets and the blood does not clot properly. People who have thrombocytopenia may bleed a lot from an injury because they have an abnormally low number of platelets.
Some conditions or diseases lead to thrombocytopenia because they destroy a person's platelets or interfere with their production. Certain medicines may also cause thrombocytopenia. A person who has a low platelet count with no known cause is said to have immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).
Symptoms of thrombocytopenia include:
Easy or excessive bruising.
Pinpoint-sized red spots (petechiae) around the feet and ankles. In more serious cases of thrombocytopenia, the spots are larger and more widespread (purpura).
Heavy menstrual flow.
Treatment for low platelets starts with finding a cause that can be eliminated, such as changing a drug the person is taking or treating an infection. Treatment may include platelet injections into a vein, called platelet transfusion; taking medicines to stop destruction of the platelets; taking medicine that helps the body make more platelets; or surgery to remove the spleen.
Current as of: March 28, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Brian Leber MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology