Platelet Disorders

What are Platelets?

The hemostatic system is made of coagulation factors, endothelial cells that line the blood vessels, and platelets. Platelets are not actually cells, in a strict sense, rather, they are fragments of megakaryocytes, cells in the bone marrow, and flow in the blood as particles with no nucleus and with a disc shape.

Normally, endothelial cell lining resists interacting with platelets as well as with coagulation factors so that thrombosis does not occur. Should there be a disruption in the endothelial continuity, exposing the matrix, a synchronized sequence of events is triggered to close the defect, otherwise called primary hemostasis. Platelets have a primary function in controlling bleeding through the course of hemostasis.

What are Platelet Disorders?

Platelet disorders are actually medical conditions that involve platelets. There are several conditions belonging to the group of platelet disorders, and there is also a wide range for these conditions. Should a patient have a diagnosis with a condition involving platelets, he may receive treatment from a wide array of choices for addressing such condition as well as its underlying cause.

Platelet Disorders: Two Main Types

With platelet disorders, there are just two types to go over: disorders linked to the number of platelets, and conditions linked to platelet function. A patient can present problems with platelet counts that can be either high or low artificially, or he could present with platelets that aren’t properly functioning. These conditions may or may not have been inherited. Also, they may or may not be immune-mediated, in other words, abnormality in the function of the immune system is involved. Identifying whether or not inheritance or the immune system is involved is vital in both diagnosis and treatment.

Disorders in Number

These conditions could be brought about by too much or not enough platelet production in the bone marrow. Aside from that, there might also be an irregular rate of sequestration or destruction in the body. Diagnosing these types can be a blood count wherein a blood sample is taken and then tested to learn more regarding the numbers of active platelets in the body.

Disorders with Function

These can include von Willebrand’s Disease and Bernard-Soulier Disease. These two conditions have normal platelet counts, however, the problem lies in the primary role of the platelets. Both these conditions are usually genetic and entail inappropriately-coded protein, though they may also be acquired.

Doctors who specialize in dealing with patients who might have a platelet disorder are called hematologists. They concentrate in blood disorders. They might suggest extra testing to discover some more data about the disorder of the patient as well as its probable causes. These tests can include blood tests, genetic testing, and bone marrow samples. After the diagnosis of the condition, the doctor can establish what treatment is most fitting for the patient.

Congenital Conditions

These disorders may not be curable. However, they can be managed, making it possible to allow the patient a good quality of life.

Several other platelet disorders can be dealt with by targeting the underlying cause. The patient might have to have several appointments in his lifetime with a hematologist to assess for timely signs of changes as well as for complications which might have developed as these could point to a rising problem.

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Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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