Thrombocytopenia is a condition in which your blood has a low number of platelets, the blood agents that are responsible for clotting to stop any bleeding that could happen if a blood vessel is damaged. Symptoms include easy bruising and unexplained bleeding.
Several factors can cause a low platelet count, either because your body’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough platelets or it makes enough platelets but your body destroys them or uses them up. The spleen, which normally stores about one-third of the body’s platelets, sometimes holds onto too many platelets. It also helps the body fight infection and remove unwanted cell material.
Thrombocytopenia can last from days to years. It can be fatal, especially if the bleeding is severe or occurs in the brain. However, the overall outlook is good, especially if the cause of the low platelet count is found and treated. Mild thrombocytopenia usually doesn’t need treatment. For serious bleeding, or the risk for serious bleeding, medicines or blood or platelet transfusions may be required. In rare cases, the spleen may need to be removed.