Platelet Disorders Living With
If you are diagnosed with a platelet disorder, it is important that you follow your treatment plan. Your healthcare provider will monitor your condition, and you may need procedures to manage your complications.
What health problems can platelet disorders cause?
Platelet disorders can cause the following complications:
- Bleeding from your nose and gums
- Menstrual bleeding lasting more than 7 days, called menorrhagia
- Bleeding in your brain or your digestive system
- Blood clots, which can block blood flow to your limbs and organs, such as your lungs and brain
- Blood or bone marrow cancer
- Bone marrow failure
- Heart attack or decreased blood flow to your heart
- Pregnancy complications
If you think that you are or someone else is having symptoms of serious bleeding, a heart attack, or stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. Every minute matters.
Manage your condition
To help prevent complications, your healthcare provider may ask you to take the following steps to help prevent complications.
- See your provider for ongoing medical care. You may need routine tests to monitor your platelet levels. You may also need ongoing treatment to keep your platelet count in the normal range. If you are pregnant, your provider will monitor your condition to make sure that your platelet count is not too low or too high. Learn more about how platelet disorders can affect your pregnancy.
- Take all medicines as prescribed. If you are taking medicines to lower your platelet count, tell your provider or dentist about them before any surgery or dental procedures. These medicines thin your blood and may increase bleeding during these procedures.
- Watch for symptoms of bleeding. Symptoms can appear suddenly or over time. Platelet disorders can cause bleeding in almost any part of the body. Bleeding can lead to a medical emergency and should be treated quickly. Tell your provider right away if you have any symptoms.
- Tell your provider if you have any symptoms of an infection, such as a fever. This is very important for people who have had their spleens removed, because removing your spleen raises your risk of an infection. People who have had their spleens removed may need vaccines to prevent certain infections. Talk to your provider about vaccines, including pneumococcal and meningococcal vaccines.
- Avoid medicines that may lower your platelet count or stop your platelets from working properly. Two examples of such medicines are aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines may thin your blood too much. Be careful when using over-the-counter medicines, as many contain aspirin or ibuprofen. Tell your provider about all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies.
- Make healthy lifestyle changes. If you smoke, quit. Smoking can raise your risk of a blood clot. Also, get treatment for other health conditions that can raise the risk of a blood clot.
- Avoid injuries that can cause bruising and bleeding.
- Do not take part in contact sports, such as boxing, football, or karate. These sports can lead to injuries that can cause bleeding. Other sports, such as skiing or horseback riding, also put you at risk for injuries that can cause bleeding. Ask your provider about physical activities that are safe for you.
- If your child has thrombocytopenia, ask your child’s healthcare provider whether you need to restrict your child’s activities.
- Take safety precautions, such as using a seatbelt while riding in a car and wearing gloves when working with knives and other tools.
- Invasive dental procedures may cause serious bleeding. Get regular dental care and practice oral hygiene to help prevent gum bleeding and lower the chance of needing such procedures.