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What Does A High Platelet Count Mean

high platelet count

Platelets, or thrombocytes, are crucial blood components produced in the bone marrow, play a pivotal role in blood clotting and serve as vital inflammatory and immune mediators. When platelets become activated and aggregate, their size, measured during a blood test, can also increase. This phenomenon, known as a high platelet count, can sometimes elevate the risk of cardiovascular issues1. Patients who had an elevated above normal platelet count in the general blood test had a greater risk that they would have a malignant neoplasm (lung cancer or colorectal cancer) within the next year2. The risk was especially increased if thrombocytosis was detected at least twice in 6 months. Hence, maintaining platelet count and Mean Platelet Volume (MPV) within optimal ranges is paramount. So, what does it signify when a routine blood analysis reveals an elevation in platelet levels?

What are the symptoms?

What symptoms might you experience?

For many people with thrombocythemia or thrombocytosis, there may be no noticeable symptoms, and these conditions may only be detected through routine blood tests.

However, if you do experience symptoms due to a high platelet count, they are typically associated with either blood clots or bleeding. These symptoms are more prevalent among individuals with thrombocythemia.

In cases of thrombocythemia, blood clots commonly form in the brain, hands, and feet, though they can occur anywhere in the body. Blood clots in the brain might result in chronic headaches and dizziness. In severe instances, you might even experience a transient ischemic attack or a stroke.

Blood clots may also develop in the small blood vessels of the hands and feet, leading to numbness and redness in these areas. You might feel a burning sensation and throbbing pain, especially in the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet.

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Additional symptoms of a blood clot include confusion or changes in speech, migraines, seizures, discomfort in the upper body (such as in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or abdomen), shortness of breath coupled with nausea, weakness, chest pain, and complications during pregnancy. Additionally, an enlarged spleen could also be present.

Factors that may increase your risk of developing a blood clot include older age, a history of previous blooDiscover Blood Test Insights in Healsens Appd clots, smoking, and other underlying health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

What can lead to a high platelet count?

Let’s start with the fact that you shouldn’t have a complete blood count test while fasting or on a fasting-mimicking diet. You should wait 7 days after fasting. Otherwise, platelet levels during fasting and immediately afterward will be very high. Additionally, an increase in platelet levels can also be a response to stress, injury, or physical activity.

Moreover, high platelet levels can be caused by another condition or the use of certain medications. This is called secondary thrombocytosis and accounts for 80% to 90% of cases of elevated plateletsх. The list of reasons that can cause an increase in platelets includes3:

  • Infections (acute bacterial and viral infections/chronic infections such as tuberculosis)
  • Inflammation
  • Functional and surgical asplenia
  • Bleeding/iron deficiency
  • Medications – aztreonam, ceftazidime, ibuprofen, adrenaline, glucocorticoids.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), sarcoidosis
  • Hemolysis
  • Metastatic cancer/lymphoma
  • Allergic reactions

In such cases, platelet levels will return to normal after treating the underlying condition. For example, normalization of platelet counts can be achieved by taking iron supplements in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Treatment of thrombocytosis with aspirin is generally not recommended.

» Discover everything about what your cholesterol results mean.

Primary thrombocytosis

However, elevated levels of platelets can be caused by a disruption in platelet production by bone marrow precursor cells. This condition is known as primary thrombocytosis. Typically, for individuals at low risk—those who are younger (up to 60 years old) and have no history of thrombosis—treatment with aspirin is recommended if there are no serious contraindications to taking aspirin. Platelets have a lifespan of 7-10 days. After taking an aspirin tablet, platelets lose their ability to aggregate and form clots for the entire duration of their existence—around 7-10 days.

For individuals at high risk—typically older individuals (over 60 years old) with a history of previous thrombosis—the preferred options are antiplatelet therapy (low-dose aspirin) and cytoreductive therapy.

Natural ways to lower high platelet count

Several clinical trials have shown that tomatoes, cocoa, grapes, kiwi, and ginkgo have an inhibitory effect on platelet aggregation4. The polyphenols in these plants can influence the cardiovascular system by reducing blood pressure, improving endothelial function, enhancing antioxidant protection, inhibiting the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins, and reducing inflammatory reactions.

Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum), sea buckthorn berries (Hippophae), and argan oil (Argania spinose) may also be beneficial in appropriate doses.

It should be noted that garlic and ginkgo may enhance the pharmacological action of aspirin. Therefore, caution should be exercised when using garlic/ginkgo concurrently with aspirin.

If you are interested in checking your platelet count level, you can easily purchase a blood test kit from Healsens.

1 Download the Healsens App from Google Play or the App Store, depending on your device.

2 Complete the registration process in the app.

3 Go to the “Profile” page via the bottom menu of the application.

4 Tap on the test you need — ”List of Available Tests

5 Find the Cholesterol Pack & Tap on the “Add to Cart” button. Proceed with the ordering process.

» Discover how to check and improve your health with Healsens preventive checkup plan.

Note

If you want to assess your platelet count level but are not residing in the Netherlands or have opted for a different laboratory, Healsens cannot upload your blood test results for you. Nevertheless, you have the option to undergo the required tests at any laboratory in your country and manually input the obtained results into the application. Healsens will open more opportunities for you to naturally normalize your blood test results. Furthermore, you gain full access to investigate your health risk assessment based on the provided data.

Unlock your health insights with our smart data analysis – the Free Health Tracker app, your reliable medical record!

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FURTHER READING
  1. Platelet Indices and Risk of Death and Cardiovascular Events: Results from a Large Population-Based Cohort Study
  2. Analysis of Platelet Count and New Cancer Diagnosis Over a 10-Year Period
  3. Secondary Thrombocytosis
  4. Platelet Aggregation Inhibition: An Evidence-Based Systematic Review on the Role of Herbs for Primary Prevention Based on Randomized Controlled Trials

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