High platelet count


Last Updated June 24th, 2019

What does high platelet count mean?

This can be termed as a condition where there is increased production of platelets from the bone marrow.  The sponge-like tissue present in the bone is called bone marrow and contains stem cells.  The stem cells are further developed into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.  The cause of excess production of platelets from the bone marrow is still not found.  It is estimated that there is increased production of platelets due to some faulty cells in the bone marrow.

Increase in the number of platelets without any underlying cause is called primary thrombocythemia whereas an increase in platelets due to an underlying disease condition is called secondary or reactive thrombocytosis.  Primary thrombocythemia is a rare condition whereas secondary thrombocytosis is more common.  There are hardly any signs and symptoms associated with high platelet count.  People suffering from mild primary thrombocythemia can lead a normal life and generally do not need any medical treatment.  A severe condition involving blood clots and bleeding requires medical treatment.  Treatment for secondary thrombocytosis depends on the underlying cause.

Potential Causes of high platelet count

Primary Thrombocythemia

High platelet count_WBCsAs discussed earlier, this is a rare condition.  Faulty stem cells in the bone marrow produce too many platelets and what makes them do this is still a mystery.  This condition may occur without the involvement of other blood cell disorders and is called essential thrombocythemia.  Another form of thrombocythemia can occur when it is passed on from parents to children.  On the other hand, a genetic mutation may cause this condition.  The platelets that are produced by faulty stem cells are not healthy and can form into blood clots and cause bleeding in some cases.

Secondary Thrombocytosis

This is caused when there is an increase in the number of platelets due to a disease, condition, or other factors.  For example, secondary thrombocytosis is quite common in people who are suffering from cancer, such as lung cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer.  In fact, the increase in platelet count is considered the first sign of cancer.  Similarly, other health conditions are known to cause this condition such as hemolytic anemia, iron deficiency anemia, connective tissue disorder, tuberculosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and the absence of the spleen.

Certain health conditions can cause a short-term increase in the number of platelets and these include acute infection or inflammation, recovery from serious blood loss, recovery of low platelets from vitamin B12 or folate deficiency.  An important point to be noted here is that secondary thrombocytosis contains healthy platelets even though they are large in numbers and generally do not cause blood clots or bleeding.  Overuse of medications to increase low platelet count could also result in an increase in the number of platelets.

Signs and symptoms

There are no associated signs and symptoms with thrombocythemia or thrombocytosis.  Only a routine blood test can discover these conditions.  The only signs and symptoms associated with this condition occur rarely when people suffering from primary thrombocythemia experience blood clots or bleeding.  Due to loss of blood, it may also cause other symptoms such as fatigue, headache, dizziness, tingling sensation in hands and feet, and chest pain.

Blood Clots

Primary thrombocythemia is known to cause blood clots in the brain, heart, hands, intestines, and feet.  Blood clots in the brain can be serious.  Initially, you may feel a chronic headache and dizziness.  If untreated, they can lead to a stroke causing paralysis.  Similarly, blood clots can occur in hands and feet causing a tingling sensation.  Blood clots are also known to cause other serious conditions such as seizures, confusion, passing out, and shortness of breath.  Blood clots may cause miscarriage when it affects the placenta during pregnancy.  The risk of blood clots increases when women take birth control pills when they have primary thrombocythemia or secondary thrombocytosis.

Bleeding

High platelet count_clottingBleeding due to increased platelet count occurs only when the numbers are very high such as 1 million platelets per microliter of blood.  Easy bruising, nosebleeds and bleeding from gums may occur.  It should be noted that bleeding may occur with both low platelets and high platelets.  During thrombocythemia or thrombocytosis, blood clots use the majority of platelets.  This leads to a lesser amount of platelets to seal off cuts leading to bleeding.  Bleeding may also be associated with von Willebrand disease.  This disease is known to alter the blood clotting process and causes bleeding.

Complications associated with primary thrombocythemia

Since this condition can lead to blood clots and bleeding, it can lead to some serious complications if left untreated.  Blood clots caused by primary thrombocythemia can cause stroke when it occurs in the brain.  Some of the symptoms include blurred vision, confusion, weakness and numbness in the limbs, difficulty speaking, and seizures.  It may also cause a heart attack when a blood clot blocks the arteries.  A high platelet count can also cause nosebleeds, bleeding from the gums, and bleeding per rectum.

Diagnosis of thrombocythemia or thrombocytosis

Thrombocythemia or thrombocytosis is diagnosed with the help of three factors such as medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests.  You may need a doctor who specializes in blood diseases and conditions such as a hematologist.

Medical HistoryA brief medical history is obtained to find the factors that can affect your platelets such as medical procedures or blood transfusions, recent infections or vaccines, over-the-counter medicines, eating habits, amount of alcohol consumption, as well as a family history of high platelet counts.

Physical Exam:  A medical history is next followed by a brief physical exam.  The physical exam concentrates on finding signs and symptoms of blood clots and bleeding.  Since secondary thrombocytosis can occur due to infection, your doctor may try to find anything suspicious such as an infected wound.  Your doctor would also try to find other disease conditions which might cause an increase in the number of platelets.

Diagnostic TestsFinally a series of tests are ordered by your doctor to help diagnose a high platelet count.  Some of the common tests are discussed below:

  • Complete Blood Count: CBC or complete blood count is ordered to measure white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in the blood.  A blood draw is required to complete this test.  Blood is drawn generally from the patient’s hand and sent for analysis.  If the platelet count is high, it would indicate thrombocythemia or thrombocytosis.
  • Blood Smear: A blood smear test is undertaken to check the health of your platelets.  This is done by drawing blood from your hand.  A small amount of blood is placed on a glass slide for microscopic examination.  This would provide an outlook as to how healthy your platelets are.
  • Bone Marrow Tests: There are two types of bone marrow test namely aspiration and biopsy.  Both the tests are done to check the health and functioning of bone marrow.  Initially, the aspiration process is done where a sample of bone marrow is removed and checked for faulty cells that are making too many platelets.  This is then followed by a bone marrow biopsy.  This test determines the number and types of cells in the bone marrow.

Treatment for high platelet count

Primary Thrombocythemia

A mild case of thrombocythemia does not cause any problems and the affected person can lead a normal life.  Treatment is required only when the condition progresses and becomes severe.  Blood clots may be a cause of concern in these patients.  Generally, a blood thinner like aspirin is prescribed to manage the symptoms.  In certain cases, these blood thinners may increase your chances of bleeding.

It is important to follow up with your doctor regularly to monitor this condition when you are taking medications.  People suffering from primary thrombocythemia may require medications or certain procedures based on few factors such as the history of blood clots or bleeding, certain health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes.  Medications are also considered if you are older than 60 years of age, or have a platelet count of over 1 million.  The medications prescribed needs to be consumed for the entire life.  Some of the medications prescribed are discussed below.

Hydroxyurea:  It is a platelet-lowering medication.  It is strictly provided only under medical supervision to patient’s having high platelet count due to cancer.  A combination of hydroxyurea and aspirin is considered the standard treatment for primary thrombocythemia with the risk of developing blood clots.

Anagrelide:  This medicine is very similar to hydroxyurea and is used to lower platelet counts.  It has more side effects as compared to hydroxyurea.  Some of the side effects include fluid retention, arrhythmias, palpitations, heart failure, and headache.

Interferon alfa:  This medicine is used to decrease the number of platelets.  Side effects are the major drawback of this medication.  It has been estimated that around 20% of the patients are unable to tolerate this medication due to its side effects.  Some of the side effects associated with this medication include seizures, loss of appetite, diarrhea, upset stomach, and drowsiness.  This medication is suitable for pregnant women since hydroxyurea and anagrelide may cause complications to the fetus.

Plateletpheresis:  This is a procedure used to lower the platelets rapidly and used only during emergencies.  This procedure is done to prevent stroke caused by primary thrombocythemia.  This procedure is undertaken by connecting a tube to the blood vessel with the help of an intravenous needle.  The blood is allowed to flow through a machine which removes the platelets from the blood.  The blood is then returned back to the blood vessels through an IV line.  This procedure can be repeated until the desired level of platelets is achieved.

Secondary Thrombocytosis

Secondary thrombocytosis is caused due to an underlying medical condition and hence it is treated by addressing the medical condition.  This condition does not need medications to lower platelets since they hardly cause blood clots or bleeding.  As discussed earlier, the platelets with secondary thrombocytosis are generally healthy unlike the platelets with primary thrombocythemia.

Prevention

It is difficult to prevent primary thrombocythemia since the exact cause is yet to be determined.  It is possible to limit the complications by avoiding certain risk factors.  Controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking can reduce the complications associated with it.  Similarly, secondary thrombocytosis cannot be prevented since it is caused by an underlying medical condition.  Routine medical tests can detect an increase in platelet count and measures can be taken to limit this condition before it leads to other complications.

Facts

  • The incidence of essential thrombocythemia is around 0.6 to 2.5 per 100,000 among the general population per year.
  • Thrombocythemia in more prevalent in females than males.

Facts

  • The median age at onset of thrombocythemia is around 65 to 70 years.

Facts

  • Reactive thrombocytosis (RT) occurs in 85% of cases whereas autonomous thrombocytosis (AT) occurs in 15% of cases.
  • Complications are more likely with AT than RT.

Related Conditions

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Control high blood pressure.
  • Maintain appropriate cholesterol levels.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Consider routine medical tests.
Don'ts
  • Smoke tobacco.
  • Eat high cholesterol foods.
  • Ignore hypertension.
  • Avoid routine laboratory tests.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

anal sex
Anal Sex : Tips from experts on how to be kinky yet safe Whether it irks you or stokes your fantasies, anal sex has always been an intriguing sexual act. Learn…
diverticulitis diet
Diverticulitis diet: The right way to eat if you suffer from the disease Are you suffering from diverticultis but clueless about your diet ? Read this complete plan for diverticulitis diet…
Penis pump: Pump your way out of erectile dysfunction One of the options to treat erectile dysfunction is by the use of a penis pump. It is…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol and is used…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
Top natural diuretics: The instant benefits you can get from nature’s water pills Since diuretic drugs are known to cause side effects, it is better to choose a natural diuretic that…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
TBHQ: A carcinogen lingering in your child’s favorite snacks TBHQ - Why you should shun the practice of eating instant noodles or microwave popcorn to get rid…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
Latest findings on Kombucha; a teacup full of yeast and bacteria How can a tea consisting of a live culture of bacteria & fungi be healthy? With Kombucha, you…
about mediterranean diet
Why you should be adopting a Mediterranean style of diet today Ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy? One simple solution to lowering risk of several deadliest…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
How can Kegels help you overcome weak pelvic muscles & incontinence? Kegel exercises are pelvic floor strengthening exercises that can help you overcome incontinence issues that rise out of…
Coconut oil woman
Coconut Oil: How one oil dominates the kitchen and the medicine kit too Coconut oil has been a favorite in many Asian kitchens. But more than a cooking oil, coconut oil…
Benefits of exercise: Top reasons why you should be sweating it out more in the gym Are you leading a sedentary life and still not motivated enough to get up from your couch and…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
Melatonin: Fascinating facts on the hormone that brings you the Zzzs Did you know, melatonin - the chemical that puts you to sleep every night is also involved in…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
TRX: Why is this total resistance workout the best choice for your body? TRX or total resistance exercise is a form of exercise where suspension belts are used to produce that…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
lifestyle diseases
The Big 5 lifestyle diseases: How your everyday living might be killing you You'd be shocked to know how unhealthy and potentially fatal your everyday routine could be. Has the modern…
eating myths debunked
8 ‘healthy eating’ myths you believed until now Is a zero-carb diet really healthy for you? Are organic products worth their cost? Did you know how…
paleo keto diet
Paleo vs. Keto: Which diet plan is best suited for your body goals? Is eating like a caveman the right way to go? Can you really eat fats to burn fats…
Improve sex life
9 best tips from around the world for better sex life How can the pungent-smelling garlic pack in a punch to your libido? How could something as slimy as…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
Lectin: The common link of proteins between peas and people Lectins are a type of protein that are found majorly in legumes. Most people are find it easy…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Hemp Seeds: The actual science behind this controversial crop Inspite of being credited as a superfood, hemp seeds are still shrouded with layers of controversies. Are these…
PiYo (Pilates + Yoga): Bringing you the best of both the worlds PiYo exercise routine was formulated for people who find it tedious and grueling exercise regimens such as extensive…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket The dragon fruit is packed with nutrients and yet low on calories and is the dream food that…
Creatine: Is this the right peak athletic-performance supplement for you? Creatine is the amino acid that boosts our energy. Did you know creatine supplements can help you reach…
erectile dysfunction treatment
Erectile Dysfunction: Effective tips to help you get back on charge Erectile dysfunction is a common male sexual dysfunction. Don't stress out. Just follow these amazing tips to get…
Vitamin B12: The unknown repercussions of this nutrient deficiency Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamine; involved in the development of red blood cells in the bone marrow.…
The real reason why you shouldn’t be eating ramen noodles Instant ramen noodles might be your go-to snack for your hunger pangs. But with each spoonful you are…
Lauric Acid: 8 health benefits you can derive from coconuts Appropriate use of saturated fats containing lauric acid can provide you numerous health benefits. This is the main…
Cranberry: Top reasons why you should grow this “superfruit” in your own backyard Cranberry is a favorite among foodies and health enthusiasts alike. Read more on how it can benefit your…
cancer facts
8 hard-hitting truths no one tells you about cancer Did you know that 1.5 million new cases of cancer are reported every year? Can second-hand smoking kill…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
Jackfruit: Slice your way into higher immunity, better digestion, & more… Native to the South East Asia, the jackfruit is a fruit brimming with thousands of health benefits. Discover…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
Female Masturbation: Tips on how to turn up the heat during a solo mission As a female, do you find yourself constantly wondering as to what is the best way to please…
Burpees: World’s most challenging fitness routine now made simple for you The majority of the fitness regimens mainly concentrate on a particular muscle group whereas Burpees is s whole…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does it harm some…
Trisodium Phosphate: How a paint thinner made its way into your breakfast Ever thought how toxic chemicals find their way into our foods? How can they harm our body? And…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
Fibromyalgia fatigue
HCG Diet: The dangers of using this diet to lose weight HCG is a natural hormone produced by both men and women that corresponds to fertility. But how is…
What is the average penis size and why should you care? Scientifically speaking, the average size of the penis depends on numerous factors such as genes, environmental circumstances, etc.
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
Keto diet healthy
Keto Diet: Did you know you could eat fats to burn fats? Keto diet - A wonder diet that lets you eat fats and lose weight too! Read on to…
collagen benefits skin
Collagen: Get age-defying skin and faster hair growth with this miracle protein Collagen – Wrinkle-free skin, stronger nails, and thicker locks – now you have more reasons to eat these…
Isagenix diet
Isagenix Diet: Do you really need liquid meal replacements to lose weight? Isagenix Diet - What are liquid meal replacements and why is the world going ga-ga over them? Are…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
Anticholinergics: The diverse range of diseases a single drug can easily treat What started as a novel treatment for Parkinson' disease has now become an all-encompassing drug. What all can…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
GERD heartburn
Heartburn: What are the exact symptoms and the best home remedies? There are easy home remedies for heartburn, which not only acts as a first aid when you experience…
11 unbelievable health benefits of thyme you didn’t know! Thyme is a herb that has been used in alternative medicine.It is a well known seasoning in the…
Orgasms: How to perfect the art of achieving intense bursts of pleasure (every time!) Orgasms are dependent not just on the sexual activity but on your partner as well. What you must…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic Resistance: How common diseases become deadly Can a cold kill you? How important is to get a flu shot? Why do antibiotics fail against…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
castor oil hair
Castor oil : A vitamin-rich oil for shiny locks and healthy bowels Castor oil bestows unlimited benefits, whether you use it for your hair or skin. But did you know…
glutamine workout
Glutamine: Why is this the right choice for muscle-gain supplement? Glutamine can help you gain muscles and build higher immunity. Read more to find out how you can…
iron food shellfish
Iron-Rich Foods: Eat these foods to keep fatigue and anemia away! How to ensure a muscles as strong as iron? Eat iron rich foods ! Iron is one of…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
calorie counter
Calorie Counter: Count your calories before they flab Is calorie counting good? Are calories always bad for you? How do you if you are getting enough…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to the Himalayas may…
L-arginine: Your search for the ultimate fitness booster ends here L-arginine is an amino acid necessary for the body to perform various functions.  It is essential in producing…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try CLA supplements, derived…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
The Vegan Diet: The benevolent way of eating that wins hearts (and tummies) The vegan diet involves fauna-friendly outlook towards food. Could the diet that hopes to balance everything based on…
The complete fitness guide on how to perform Tabata This fitness routine is called Tabata workouts, which is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata who developed this intensive…
Burn those years of stubborn fat-deposits with a few minutes of HIIT! HIIT or high-intensity interval training seems to be the right type of fitness training that is required where…