Thrombocythemia is an unusual blood clotting disorder that causes bone marrow to produce too many platelets. Thrombocythemia disorder is also known as essential thrombocythemia. Bone marrow present inside your bone is responsible for the production of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. White blood cells fights infection, red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients, and platelets ensure blood clotting. Blood clots are formed to prevent the excessive flow of blood after an injury. The patients with thrombocythemia experience blood clot for no particular reason. Unusual blood clotting, blocks the normal flow of blood to the brain, kidneys, liver, heart and other key organs. Thrombocythemia is most common among women and people over the age of 50. There are two types of thrombocythemia: primary thrombocythemia and secondary thrombocythemia.
Causes of Thrombocythemia
The exact cause of thrombocythemia is still unknown. However, the most common cause of thrombocythemia may be genetic. The alteration in the gene 2 (JAK2) may result in the abnormal growth of platelets in the bone marrow. A normal platelet count in the body is 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per micro filter of blood. Iron or vitamin deficiency, trauma, infection or kidney failure can also cause thrombocythemia.
Thrombocythemia usually does not cause any symptoms. The most common symptom of thrombocythemia is formation of blood clot, which mostly appear in the hands, feet, and brain. The symptoms of this bone marrow disorder depend upon the location of the blood clot. Common symptoms may include:
Diagnosis of Thrombocythemia
A doctor will start a diagnosis by asking a patient about their symptoms, medical history and may perform a physical exam. After that, a doctor will order a diagnostic test to know the exact cause and the severity of the problem. The diagnostic tests
Complete Blood Count (CBC)-
To measure the number of platelets in your blood.
To detect if thrombocythemia is inherited or not.
Blood smear test-
To determine the condition of your platelets.
Bone marrow aspiration-
This test involves taking a sample of bone marrow tissue in the liquid form. This is later examined under the microscope.
There is no permanent cure for the thrombocythemia. There are treatments, which can provide relief from the symptoms. The treatment of thrombocythemia varies from a person to person. The doctor will decide the treatment based on the patient’s current condition. Patients who are over the age of 60 are smokers, have diabetes or heart disease are highly recommended to consider immediate treatment. Treatment may involve:
- Antibiotics and aspirin to prevent blood from clotting.
- Medications to slow down the excessive production of platelets in the bone marrow.
- Plateletpheresis- It is a procedure to remove platelets directly from the blood.