Thrombocytes – also called blood platelets – play an important role in the human body. They regulate blood clotting and ensure that wounds do not bleed continuously and thus no blood loss occurs. There are different diseases that affect the properties or number of platelets. These are summarized under the term thrombocytopathy.
What is thrombocytopathy?
Scientists understand thrombocytopathy to mean all clinical pictures that cause a functional disorder of the blood platelets. This means the platelets cannot perform their normal function – helping blood to clot – as usual. As a result, bleeding is no longer stopped as quickly, but lasts longer. Bleeding also occurs frequently. For dressler syndrome dictionary definitions, please visit foodanddrinkjournal.com.
The number of platelets remains unchanged. There are two forms of thrombocytopathy: the inherited form and the acquired form. Most diagnosed thrombocytopathies are of the acquired form.
Hereditary thrombocytopathies can be traced back to various syndromes. Among other things, the Bernard-Soulier syndrome or Willebrand-Jürgens syndrome are known. Another rare disease is Glanzmann’s thrombastenia. What all clinical pictures have in common is that they result in a genetic defect that prevents the thrombocytes from pursuing their natural function.
There are many causes of acquired thrombocytopathy. They occur, for example, when the immune system is weakened by an infection. If the kidneys are impaired, for example in the case of renal insufficiency, the dysfunction of the blood platelets can be an accompanying disease. Liver diseases can also lead to such a clinical picture. In addition, patients suffering from leukemia are sometimes affected by thrombocytopathy.
Very often, the dysfunction occurs in connection with the intake of medication. Above all, painkillers (e.g. aspirin) and anti-inflammatory drugs such as diclofenac should be mentioned here. Certain antibiotics, such as penicillin, have also been identified as a cause. The influence of medication is significant. Physicians must take this into account for upcoming operations.
Poorly functioning blood clotting can have fatal consequences here. Such substances must therefore be discontinued sufficiently in advance of the planned intervention.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The clinical picture of thrombocytopathy has various symptoms. Patients very often suffer from increased nosebleeds. Bleeding gums are also a typical feature. Internal bleeding, for example from the gastrointestinal tract, which shows up as blood in the stool, can also be an indication. People who discover an above-average number of hematomas (bruises) on their body should also consult a doctor.
In women, thrombocytopathy becomes noticeable through unusually long menstrual bleeding. After minor surgery or tooth extraction, prolonged bleeding can be a sign of a coagulation disorder.
Diagnosis & course of disease
If one or more of the symptoms described above occur, a doctor should be consulted. There are several aspects to consider when making a diagnosis. First, a general questioning of the patient takes place. The doctor is interested in bleeding events that have occurred and corresponding occurrences in relatives. After this anamnesis, the doctor asks questions about possible drug consumption, since this, as already described, is the main cause of thrombocytopathy.
If the suspicion of a disease is strengthened, the doctor determines the clotting time by means of a so-called search test. Here, after a slight cut, he determines the length of time until coagulation. A final laboratory test provides the final confirmation for a secure diagnosis.
Those affected by thrombocytopathy suffer from a number of different complaints. First and foremost, nosebleeds are very common with this condition. This complaint can have a very negative effect on everyday life and the quality of life of the person concerned and significantly reduce it. Bleeding of the gums is also common and can lead to gum infections.
Patients also suffer from stomach or intestinal problems, so that bloody stools can also occur. There is a high number of bruises or hemorrhages on the skin due to thrombocytopathy. In women, the disease can also lead to prolonged menstrual bleeding. Even minor wounds or cuts bleed longer and the patient’s wound healing is significantly delayed.
Thrombocytopathy can usually be fought relatively easily with the help of medication. There are no particular complications. However, this treatment must be carried out throughout life. Even with surgical interventions, the risk of bleeding must be better assessed. As a rule, this disease does not lead to a reduction in the patient’s life expectancy.
When should you go to the doctor?
If human bleeding cannot be stopped or is very difficult to stop, a doctor should be consulted immediately. If large amounts of blood are lost from even small wounds, this is considered unusual and a sign of a health problem. A doctor is needed because a life-threatening condition threatens if the disease progresses unfavorably. If bleeding cannot be stopped, there is a risk of bleeding to death from cuts.
Frequent nosebleeds or bleeding gums are signs of a disease. If bruising or hematomas form even with the slightest exertion of pressure on the skin, a doctor should be consulted. Skin discoloration, unusual pallor, and poor exercise tolerance should be presented to a doctor. If sexually mature girls or women have very heavy menstrual bleeding with enormous blood loss, a doctor must be consulted. If bleeding causes dizziness, malaise, inner weakness or a loss of physical strength, it is advisable to clarify the cause.
General functional disorders, loss of blood when going to the toilet, as well as fatigue and exhaustion are other complaints that need to be examined. In the case of headaches, irregular memory activity, sleep disorders and palpitations, it is advisable to clarify the cause. Medical examinations are needed to enable a diagnosis to be made and a treatment plan to be drawn up.
Treatment & Therapy
In order to be able to treat a thrombocytopathy, the first step is to identify the cause. If the illness is caused by the intake of medicines, these are discontinued – if possible. To further treat the causative disease, the doctor will prescribe an alternative drug. If active action is to be taken against the coagulation disorder, the administration of so-called DDAVP (1-desamino-8-D-arginine-vasopressin) substances is a good idea.
These help restore the platelets’ natural function. A nasal spray or an infusion are the usual dosage forms. The doctor uses test applications to determine whether the treatment with the substance was successful. In an emergency, affected patients receive a transfusion. This may be necessary during an operation if an existing thrombocytopathy was not previously diagnosed.
Platelets from a healthy donor are introduced into the bloodstream of the sick person. One risk here is that the recipient does not tolerate the transfusion and the administered platelets are rejected.
If a blood coagulation disorder is sufficiently known before an upcoming procedure, preventive measures must be taken. In addition to discontinuing the causative preparations as described, the doctor treating you can administer the hormone desmopressin. This causes the thrombocytes to attach better to the injured area and thus accelerate the clotting process again. Depending on the type of procedure, the doctor has the choice between administration as a nasal spray (e.g. in the case of a tooth extraction) or via the vein (in the case of surgery).
Children and adolescents suffering from the congenital variant of thrombocytopathy are also given numerous preventive measures to avoid a worsening of the condition. This includes the regular administration of platelet concentrates, which take over the function of the impaired platelets. In addition, affected children receive special medication that leads to an increased formation of coagulation factors.
Girls who suffer from the condition take supporting hormones during their menstrual period. Since liver disease is a cause of the coagulation disorder, vaccination against hepatitis A and hepatitis B is advisable.
In most cases, the options for direct follow-up care for thrombocytopathy are significantly limited or, in some cases, are not even available to the person concerned. Therefore, they should consult a doctor at the first signs and symptoms of this disease and also initiate treatment so that there are no complications or other symptoms in the further course.
The earlier the thrombocytopathy is recognized and treated by a doctor, the better the further course of this disease is usually. Most of those affected are dependent on taking various medications. This limits the symptoms and also significantly alleviates them.
It is important to ensure that the dosage is correct and that it is taken regularly. If you have any questions or side effects, you should always consult a doctor first. Regular check-ups and examinations should also be carried out by a doctor. Those affected by thrombocytopathy are often dependent on lifelong therapy to counteract the symptoms. However, the life expectancy of those affected is not limited by the disease. In some cases, contact with other people affected by the disease is also useful, as this can lead to an exchange of information.
You can do that yourself
Thrombocytopathy is only treated if there are physical symptoms. Platelet dysfunction usually does not cause any health problems. The self-help measures are limited to paying attention to unusual symptoms after the diagnosis, which may indicate illnesses.
The doctor must be informed of these symptoms. If no health problems occur, should regularly see a general practitioner or an internistbe consulted. Regular measurement of blood values is indicated in order to check the functional disorder of the platelets and at the same time to identify any subsequent physical symptoms. If health problems are identified, medication, such as desmopressin, is usually used. The patient can support the treatment by taking it easy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is also important to pay attention to any side effects and interactions of the drug treatment. The doctor must be informed about side effects so that the necessary measures, usually changing the medication regimen, can be initiated quickly.
Further self-help measures are usually not necessary in the case of thrombocytopathy. The functional disorder of the thrombocytes is therefore to be treated primarily preventively by discontinuing the triggering medication such as diclofenac or penicillin.