Thrombocytopenia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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IN THIS ARTICLE Thrombocytopenia means you don't have enough By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy Causes and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time. platelets, cells in your blood that stick together to help it Symptoms clot. It might not cause you any health problems at all. Diagnosis But if you do have symptoms like bleeding too Treatment much, treatments can help.

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Causes Platelets are made in your bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside your bones. You can get thrombocytopenia if your body doesn't make enough of them, or if they're destroyed faster than they can be made. Your body might not make enough platelets if you have a: Blood disorder that affects bone marrow, called aplastic anemia Cancer such as leukemia or lymphoma, which damages your bone marrow Platelet-lowering disease that runs in your family, like Wiskott-Aldrich or May-Hegglin syndrome

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Virus such as chickenpox, mumps, rubella, HIV, or EpsteinBarr

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Chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer destroys stem cells that form platelets. If you've been in contact with chemicals like pesticides and arsenic, your body might slow down the process of making platelets.

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Your platelets can be damaged by:

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Autoimmune diseases such as lupus or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), where your own body attacks healthy cells

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Medicines, such as antibiotics that contain sulfa, heparin used to prevent blood clots, and antiseizure drugs such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and vancomycin (Vancocin)

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Rare diseases that make blood clots form in the body, such as thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) Viruses like mononucleosis or cytomegalovirus Sometimes, you don't have enough platelets because they get trapped in your spleen, an organ that fights infection. And women may get thrombocytopenia during pregnancy, because their bodies get rid of platelets more quickly than usual.

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Sometimes you don't have any symptoms from thrombocytopenia. When you do, the main one is bleeding.

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You can bleed outside or inside your body. Sometimes it can be heavy or hard to stop. Some people get nosebleeds or bleeding gums.

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Purple or red bruises, called purpura Tiny red or purple spots on your skin, called petechiae These symptoms might not start until your platelet count is very low. If you notice any of them, call your doctor.

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Thrombocytopenia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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