Blood Platelets

Blood Platelets

Platelets are disc-shaped structures in the blood that can also be called thrombocytes. They are formed in the red bone marrow and prevent fluid (blood) loss by initiating a chain of events that result in blood clotting.

The normal platelet count is between 150,000 – 400,000 per cubic millimetre. A low count would be 100,000 – 150,000 pcm but often counts are not considered serious until they drop to 50,000 pcm or below.

The average life span of a platelet in the blood is approximately 10 days therefore a low platelet count needs to be monitored frequently to gauge the seriousness of a low count or to gauge an improvement. Many situations will resolve themselves naturally but a persistently low count needs to be looked into more thoroughly.

Many factors can influence an individual’s platelet count. Factors that need to be considered are the use of some drugs, quinine or quinidine being the most common culprits but also chemotherapy drugs, diuretics, anti-seizure and some antibiotic medications. Certain viral infections, heavy alcohol use, deficiency of vitamin B12 or folic acid, kidney failure, bone marrow failure or abnormal production of antibodies such as in Rheumatoid arthritis or other auto immune diseases. The main effect of a low platelet count is an increased risk of bleeding.

When haemorrhage is a possibility then transfusion with platelet concentrates is required, but where there is no major haemorrhage the treatment is aimed at correcting the suspected cause of the low platelet count. If you suspect that medication you are on may be having an effect, ask your GP for more information.  If viral infection is suspected then there is no orthodox treatment but herbal treatments work extremely well.

Some cases of low platelet count have been seen to increase markedly when people supplement their diet with Barley Grass powder or capsules (two teaspoons or at least six capsules daily). This could have been due to a boost in the general health of the patients concerned but possibly also to an increase in Vitamin B12.

I have also seen great results in increasing platelet counts with continued use of colostrum. This was a specific Colostrum with added immune enhancing components.