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Why Is Having a High Platelet Count Abnormal?

Dr. Anthony Close
May 14, 2022

How many platelets are normal? This may seem like an odd question, but the answer varies from one person to another, and there are certain situations in which having an abnormally high platelet count can be dangerous. In this blog post, we will answer the question of why having a high platelet count can be dangerous, what it means to have abnormally high platelets, and how your doctor might diagnose you with an abnormally high platelet count.

High Platelet Count
Why Is Having A High Platelet Count Abnormal? 3

What Is A Platelet Count?

The typical adult has between 150,000 and 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood. An elevated platelet count is considered to be above 450,000. A low platelet count is below 150,000. A normal platelet count for children ranges from 140,000 to 400,000. If your child’s platelet count falls outside of these ranges, it could mean that they have an underlying condition or disease that needs medical attention.

What Is The Normal Range of My Platelet Count?

The normal range of platelets in an adult ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 per microliter of blood. 

A high platelet count may be associated with health conditions such as anemia or some cancers; a low count may be caused by medication or kidney disease. As part of a complete blood count (CBC), your doctor may evaluate your platelet number and function during your annual physical exam. If your doctor suspects that you have problems with your platelets, you will likely need to have further testing.

What Can Cause an Elevated Platelet Count?

A blood test can determine whether your platelet count is abnormally high. Potential causes of elevated platelets include:

  • frequent and/or intense exercise, 
  • dehydration, 
  • iron-deficiency anemia, 
  • liver disease, 
  • kidney disease, 
  • lupus erythematosus (an autoimmune disease), 
  • pregnancy and childbirth, 
  • stomach ulcers, 
  • heart problems

One of these could be causing your higher-than-normal platelets. 

Treating or managing these conditions should reduce your elevated platelet count back to normal levels. If not, you may need additional testing to identify what’s causing your high platelet count. Your doctor may recommend that you see a hematologist if other blood tests are also abnormal in addition to your elevated platelets.

Here are some reasons for a high platelet count.

  • Myeloproliferative Disorders. 
  • Infection. 
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia. 
  • Not Having a Spleen. 
  • Inflammatory Conditions. 
  • Mixed Cryoglobulinemia. 
  • Hemolytic Anemia. 
  • Malignancy.
  • Acute bleeding and blood loss.
  • Cancer.
  • Infections.
  • Iron deficiency.
  • Removal of your spleen.
  • Hemolytic anemia — a type of anemia in which your body destroys red blood cells faster than it produces them, often due to certain blood diseases or autoimmune disorders.

 Your doctor may refer to an elevated platelet count as thrombocytosis, which refers to cells that are abnormally large and get stuck in blood vessels. 

An increased platelet count is classified as thrombocytosis when it reaches 450,000-600,000 platelets per microliter (the normal number of platelets is 150,000-400,000). 

Anything higher than 600,000 is considered thrombocythemia.

You can test your platelets using Lab Me's complete blood count.

What Causes Low Platelet Count (Thrombocytopenia)?

A low platelet count is considered to be below 150,000 platelets per microliter of blood. An extremely low platelet count is typically considered to be fewer than 20,000 platelets per microliter of blood. 

A very low platelet count might occur if you are receiving a blood transfusion because your body needs more platelets or if you have a condition that is causing them to be destroyed faster than they can be replaced. There are several conditions that can cause thrombocytopenia: Immune system disorders – Immune system disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis may cause a low platelet count. 

These conditions affect how well your immune system works, which in turn affects how well it fights off infections and other foreign invaders in your body. In some cases, these immune disorders also attack blood cells such as platelets.

A low platelet count increases your risk of hemorrhage or severe bleeding. Excessive bleeding — whether internal or external — can be life-threatening. Many people with thrombocytopenia have mild to moderate symptoms. Platelet levels often go up when you treat the underlying cause or change medications.

You can test your platelets using Lab Me's complete blood count.

Abnormal Platelets
Why Is Having A High Platelet Count Abnormal? 4

Do I Need Treatment If My Platelet Count Is Too High Or Too Low?

There are many reasons for having an abnormal platelet count. If your platelet count is too high, you may need treatment to reduce your risk of blood clots. The same goes for low platelet counts. It’s important to visit a doctor if you suspect that you have an abnormally high or low platelet count so they can determine why it is abnormal and recommend treatment, if necessary.

 There are many different types of treatment available for people with an abnormal platelet count. Some are medications that your doctor can prescribe, while others involve medical procedures such as surgery or invasive treatments.

With Lab Me you can use our medical team of registered physicians to help you understand what is appropriate for you.

When To Call A Doctor About Your Results

If you're concerned that your platelet count is too high, call your doctor and have him or her review your test results. But keep in mind that it may be due to an underlying condition such as liver failure, leukemia, or multiple myeloma—in which case you should consult a hematologist. 

A normal platelet count ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood. Having more than 450,000 platelets is a condition called thrombocytosis; having less than 150,000 is known as thrombocytopenia. You get your platelet number from a routine blood test called a complete blood count (CBC).

 A high platelet count can also be indicative of less serious conditions, like hypersplenism. In either case, it's important to call your doctor and have him or her review your test results so they can figure out what's going on with your blood.

How To Naturally Raise Platelet Counts

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 is needed to keep your blood cells healthy.  The following foods are high in B12.

beef liver

clams

eggs

Even though some types of dairy contain vitamin B-12, cow's milk sometimes can disrupt platelet production.

If supplementing try sublingual vitamin B12 for higher absorption and bioavailability. 

Iron

Note: Be careful with iron supplementation.  Current research shows that it can increase senescence cells (zombie cells) which can cause disease.  It’s very important you consult with your healthcare provider before using an iron supplement!

Iron is a crucial mineral for your body to create healthy blood cells. A 2012 study also found that it increased platelet counts in participants with iron-deficiency anemia. Some foods rich in iron include

mussels

pumpkin seeds

lentils

beef


Here is a great choice for iron if your doctor recommends taking it only.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C will bind your platelets, making them function more efficiently. It will also help you absorb iron which may improve your platelet count. This book has reported an increase in platelet count in a small group of patients who were given vitamin C supplementation.

Good sources of vitamin C include:

mangoes

pineapple

broccoli

green or red bell peppers

tomatoes

cauliflower

 almonds and hazelnuts

Liposomal vitamin C ensures high bioavailability and utilization and can be found here.

Folate

Folate is a type of B vitamin that helps cells, including blood cells. It is present in many natural foods, and it is artificially added to others in the form of folic acid. Natural sources of folate include

peanuts

black-eyed peas

kidney beans

oranges

orange juice

This supplement is liposomal vitamin B12 plus methylfolate.  Methylfolate has been shown to have higher bioavailability than regular folate.  It contains 8 B-Vitamins, Vitamin B12, Folate, & Choline.

You can play an active role in your health care by talking with your doctor or health care provider. Clear and honest communication between you and your physician or health care team can help you both make informed choices about your health.

You should always feel listened to and taken seriously by your primary physician.  If you feel uncomfortable discussing your health with him/her consider finding someone that you do feel comfortable with, after all, you only have one body and life.

You can easily test your platelets and so much more using Lab Me's CBC kit here.

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