What is Thrombocytopenia? It is a Low Platelet Count. There are many factors that can cause thrombocytopenia. The condition can be inherited or acquired. “Inherited” means your parents pass the gene for the condition to you. “Acquired” means you aren’t born with the condition, but you develop it. Sometimes the cause of thrombocytopenia isn’t known. In this article I share with you the steps that you can take to regain a healthy count.
Generally Speaking it occurs because –
- The body’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough platelets.
- The bone marrow makes enough platelets, but the body destroys them or uses them up.
- The spleen holds on to too many platelets.
Possible Causes of Low Platelet Count
- The Bone Marrow Doesn’t Make Enough Platelets – Bone marrow is the sponge-like tissue inside the bones. It contains stem cells that develop into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. When stem cells are damaged, they don’t grow into healthy blood cells. Many conditions and factors can damage stem cells such as:
- Cancer – Cancer, such as leukemia or lymphoma. These can damage to bone marrow and destroy blood stem cells. Cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, also destroy the stem cells.
- Aplastic Anemia – Aplastic Anemia is a rare, serious blood disorder in which the bone marrow stops making enough new blood cells. This lowers the number of platelets in your blood.
- Over exposure to Toxic Chemicals – Over Exposure to Toxic chemicals— These can be found in pesticides, cigarettes, household cleaning products and some processed foods. These can slow down the production of platelets. Here is a Link to support you with overcoming the chemical warfare: http://juliedoherty.net/avoiding-the-chemical-maze/
- Various Medications – that will cause low platelet count. However it has been mentioned that most prescribed medication will cause a drop in the production over platelets when taken over a long period of time:
- Gold, used to treat arthritis.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Common over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin, Panadol or ibuprofen, also can affect platelets.
- Illicit drugs
- Quinine containment
- Diet – A Diet that includes large quantities of Dairy, Animal & Trans fats, Packaged & Processed foods has been known to hamper platelet production
- Alcohol – Alcohol also slows the production of platelets. A temporary drop in the platelet count is common among heavy drinkers. Large quantities of alcohol deplete the body of necessary nutrients such as iron, B Vitamins, B12 and folate. The diet may also be deficient with foods that are low in iron, vitamin B, C, B12 and folate.
- Viruses – Chickenpox, Shingles, mumps, rubella, Epstein-Barr virus, or parvovirus can decrease your platelet count for a while. People who have AIDS often develop thrombocytopenia.
As with most areas of ill health and disease the direct cause is generally unknown. However, here are a few of the known causes responsible for lowering platelet count.
How to Improve Your Low Platelet Count
Depending on the severity of your platelet count you may well be able to recover by just putting these changes into place. If the condition is severe you may need to be hospitalized for a short while to properly assess the situation. However as with any other health problems they are a cry out from your body as to the fact there needs to be some changes made.
Your Health is the key factor to a Life of Optimal Health, Vitality and your Independence. Yes independence if you may have been taking your health for granted and not seriously eliminating things in your life that will lead to detrimental problems for you. Either in the near or foreseeable future then now is the time to put changes into place that are going to have a positive effect for you and your health.
The recommendations below will help to raise your blood platelet counts, manage symptoms and prevent complications from developing:
1. Improve Your Diet: You know how the foundation of your house is so important for the strength and longevity of your house. Your diet is your very foundation for a strong, healthy body for a long time. Look at your diet, the food you eat as the only medicine you should ever need when you get it right.
Vitamin B12 or folate (vitamin B9) deficiency can both cause mild to moderate low platelet counts. Taking supplements is one way to help resolve this, but the better option is to get enough of these nutrients to begin with. Vitamin B12 deficiency is thought to be one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in the world, and being low in folate puts you at risk for not only having low platelets, but also experiencing pregnancy complications, heart problems and fatigue. Thus, you should consume foods with these vital nutrients:
- Some of the best sources of vitamin B12 include beef, chicken liver (this you can have as pate), salmon, tuna, yogurt and turkey. Available through your health shop or Naturopathic Clinic is also a B12 Spray or tablets that go under your tongue. These are more efficient than B12 injections and less expensive.
- Some of the best folate foods to include are beans. lentils, spinach, asparagus, avocado and beets. These are all great foods and easy to add to your diet. Use avocado as a spread instead of butter or margarine. Asparagus with a poached egg for breakfast is yummy. Nothing beats baked beetroot it is delicious and spinach is so easy blanch first with boiling water then drizzle some garlic infused olive, you can then sprinkle with sesame seeds or slivered almonds. Beans and lentils can be included in a salad or mashed up with sweet potato and then bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes.
Aside from making sure to get enough B12 and folate, focus on generally eating an unprocessed, balanced diet to raise immunity against viruses or infections and help your organs detoxify your body of chemicals you encounter. Fresh fruits and vegetables are especially important for meeting your nutrient needs: Vegetables especially important here are – Cruciferous vegetables are unique because they are rich in sulphur containing compounds called glucosinolates which support detoxification and indole-3-carbinol which greatly reduces the risk of breast, colon and lung cancer. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi) and the Brassica rapa (Chinese cabbage and turnips). When changing your diet to fresh foods and lots of vegetables whilst eliminating processed foods, deli meats, dairy and wheat. People notice enormous improvements in their energy levels and health professionals have also seen great results with improving not just platelet count also with blood pressure, heart, lung, liver and most of all your brain.
2. Minimize Alcoholic Drinks and Eliminate Drinks such as juice and Soft Drinks
Heavy drinkers are at a higher risk for having low platelet counts since alcohol slows the production of platelets. According to a report in the journal Alcohol, Health and Research World, heavy alcohol consumption can cause generalized suppression of blood cell production and the production of structurally abnormal blood cell precursors that don’t function properly to clot blood. Research shows that a percentage of alcoholics have defective red blood cells that are destroyed prematurely, as well as abnormal levels of white blood cells and higher likelihood to have autoimmune reactions and frequent bacterial infections. Thrombocytopenia affects up to 43 percent of alcoholics who eat normally and up to 80 percent who do not.
Everyone responds to drinking alcohol differently, so you need to consider your unique situation and medical history to know how much alcohol your body can tolerate without complications.
A general recommendation for healthy adults is to have no more than one to two drinks per day (one for adult women, two for men), so those with low platelets should have even less. I think personally whilst you are focusing on improving your platelet count to a normal level. It would be a good idea to eliminate alcohol all together, until your levels have returned to normal. Then maybe resume alcoholic beverages on social occasion. Keeping this to either wine or beer, as with spirits these are often mixed with sugary soft drinks.
Avoiding sugary, processed drinks is also helpful since these tend to have lots of chemicals that can also disturb normal platelet production, including Diet soft drinks and also dietary foods that have artificial, synthetic colors and preservatives.
3. Reduce Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Chemicals, such as pesticides found in non-organic produce, Fish that contain high levels of mercury include shark, orange roughy, swordfish and ling. Arsenic and benzene are chemicals found in cigarettes. These two substances are known to slow the production of platelets. Tips for helping you lower your exposure to these harmful chemicals include:
- buying mostly organic produce whenever possible
- using natural cleaning products and beauty products, such as those made with essential oils instead of synthetic ingredients
- painting your home with low volatile paints
- growing some of your own food in a garden using organic fertilizers
- avoiding burning chemical sprays, fragrances or candles
- using glass or ceramic containers to store leftovers instead of those made with plastic or BPA aluminum toxins, and never heating food up in plastic
- avoid eating large fish that are high in mercury (like big tuna, shark or swordfish), getting mercury fillings or amalgam fillings in your teeth, or using mercury thermometers
- avoid cigarette smoke and if you are a smoker I strongly suggest that you eliminate this habit.
4. Stop or Reduce the Use of Painkilling Drugs
Over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen can thin your blood and affect your platelet levels. While they do reduce pain, they can also raise your risk for bleeding disorders when used too frequently. How much is too much? It depends on the person, but if you rely on taking these almost every day you might experience any number of adverse side effects.
Pain is a warning signal that something is wrong, so if you are having continual pain, it can be due to an acid build up: overload of toxicity within your body and other cause may include: High Blood Pressure. For support for pain :
5. Herbal Medicine for Support
As a Naturopathic Practitioner I have a herbal dispensary whereby I formulate an individual formula that will support return of a healthy platelet count as well as supporting other organs or tissue that may be affected.
- Vitamin D plays a valuable role in the function of hematopoietic stem cells in bone marrow that produce platelets, plus can help manage autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D is best acquired through sunlight and exposure of sunshine on your bare skin.
- Vitamin K is needed for proper blood clotting, has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to help control bleeding disorders, so consume vitamin K-rich foods such as brussel sprouts, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, kale, cucumber and spring onions.
- Sea vegetables such as Nori/Seaweed are high in chlorophyll, these help to bind heavy metal toxicity. This is in turn supports detoxification of heavy metals whilst improving your immune system.
6. Avoid Injuries and Post infection of an injury
If you have already been diagnosed with a low platelet count. Then as much as possible it is important to avoid injuries and infections. As these can worsen autoimmune reactions. Therefore aggravating spleen enlargement and may trigger excessive bleeding. So when playing sport, within your work environment, doing weights or operating heaving machinery you need to take care.
It is generally recommend that people with low platelet counts avoid contact sports, such as boxing, football, skiing or karate, which can cause bleeding. Protect your spleen by avoiding exposure to infections and viruses as much as possible, which means staying away from sick family members or co-workers and keeping children with low platelet counts out of day care facilities.
7. Treat Bruising Naturally
If you have low platelet counts that cause bruising or redness on your skin, try this bruise cream you can make yourself using shea butter or coconut oil then your can add lavender, jojoba and arnica.