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Platelet Elevation – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

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PLT or platelet is one of the blood cells produced in the bone marrow. Platelets are responsible for stopping an injured person from bleeding to death in case of injury. The platelet value is between 150 and 450 thousand per microliter in a healthy human body. If the platelet count is above 450, it results in a condition called platelet elevation or platelet high. Platelet high or elevation is also called thrombocythemia or thrombocytosis and is of two types. 

  • Primary PLT elevation. Here, the platelet production in the bone marrow is excessive, leading to a platelet count to shoot above 450. The precise cause of the primary PLT high is unknown, but gene mutations in the bone marrow or blood are thought to be responsible.
  • Secondary PLT elevation. An underlying condition in the body or the blood causes secondary PLT elevation. 

Symptoms of PLT elevation 

An individual with high PLT or elevation often does not show any symptoms, and the condition can be detected after a blood test. But generally, the symptoms of PLT high are:

  • Dizziness and headache
  • Fainting
  • Loss of balance
  • Pain in the chest area
  • Bleeding through the nose and mouth
  • Numbness in the hands and feet
  • Throbbing with redness in the hands and feet
  • Bruising easily
  • Blood in stool

Causes of PLT elevation 

The medical term for PLT elevation is thrombocytosis, and it can occur in any individual. The common causes are:

  • Gene mutation. Gene mutation in the blood or the bone marrow is the primary cause of PLT high. A mutation that causes an abnormal increase of platelet count in the body is called JAK2.
  • Iron deficiency. Extreme deficiency of iron in the blood has been known to spike platelets.
  • Spleen removal. Individuals who have undergone splenectomy to remove their spleen are also prone to have high PLT.
  • Surgery. To speed up the coagulation of wounds and scars, persons who have undergone surgeries, especially major and invasive ones, have high levels of platelets in their blood.
  • Hemolytic anaemia. Individuals with this disease get their red blood cells destroyed, which can trigger an overproduction of platelets in the bone marrow.
  • Polycythemia ‌vera: This disease of the bone marrow also stimulates the high production of platelets causing a PLT high.
  • Bowel disease. This inflammatory disorder also encourages the overproduction of platelets in the bone marrow.
  • Bone cancer. Cancer of the bones can also cause high PLT since the platelets are made in the bone marrow. 

Platelet high treatment 

The treatment for PLT elevation is very specific according to the cause. In general, these are the common treatments for high platelet count in the blood.

  • Medication. Aspirin is commonly prescribed to stabilize the abnormal count of PLT in the blood. Other prescription drugs that effectively reduce the high level of a platelet count are hydroxyurea and anagrelide. Some of these drugs are used to treat deadly diseases, including cancer. It is paramount that a certified physician prescribes these drugs as they can cause serious side effects.
  • Plateletpheresis. This procedure to lower PLT counts is used in emergencies by qualified physicians and requires drawing blood.
  • Interferon alpha. This is also a drug treatment that can lower the platelet count but is known to have several side effects, and only a certified doctor should administer it. In addition, more detailed information about low platelet count are on this page.

Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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