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Health Information For Parents
Thrombocytopenia (throm-buh-sye-tuh-PEE-nee-uh) is when there aren’t as many normal platelets in the blood as there should be. Platelets are tiny colorless cells in the blood that help the blood clot. Like all blood cells, platelets are made in the bone marrow (the spongy inner part of bones).
A child with a platelet count that is only a little low may not have any symptoms. But if the count drops low enough, a child might have one or more of these problems:
The most serious type of bleeding that can happen is bleeding in the brain. Bleeding in or around the brain can’t be seen, but it can cause headaches or changes in thinking or behavior.
Many things can cause thrombocytopenia. Some are very serious and need medical treatment. Others are not serious and may clear up on their own with time.
Causes of thrombocytopenia include:
A doctor may suspect thrombocytopenia if a child has:
The doctor will examine the child, ask questions, and order a blood test called a complete blood count (CBC).
If thrombocytopenia is diagnosed, more tests are done to figure out what’s causing it. The tests needed depend on the child’s
, the exam results, and what the blood test shows.
Sometimes, doctors order a biopsy to get a sample of bone marrow for testing and to check under a microscope.
The treatment for thrombocytopenia depends on:
Sometimes no treatment is needed and the thrombocytopenia clears up on its own. But some types need medical treatment to raise the platelet count to a safer level and to treat the underlying cause.
Thrombocytopenia is usually treated by a
, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating blood disorders.
Most of the time, thrombocytopenia either goes away on its own or can be treated successfully. But children with a low platelet count should take care to avoid injuries, especially to the head, because of the risk of bleeding.
If your child has thrombocytopenia, the doctor will tell you which activities are safe and which to avoid. Your child also shouldn’t take medicines that contain ibuprofen (such as Motrin or Advil) or aspirin because these can increase the risk of bleeding.
Immune thrombocytopenia happens when the immune system attacks platelets. Viral infections often trigger this in children, but it usually goes away within 6 months.
Stem cells help rebuild a weakened immune system. Stem cell transplants are effective treatments for a wide range of diseases, including cancer.
A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy are performed to examine bone marrow, the spongy liquid part of the bone where blood cells are made.
Anemia happens when there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells in the body. It can be caused by many things, including dietary problems, medical treatments, and inherited conditions.
Here are the basics about the life-sustaining fluid called blood.
The complete blood count (CBC) is the most common blood test. It analyzes red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
The immune system, composed of special cells, proteins, tissues, and organs that protect against germs and microorganisms, is the body’s defense against disease.
Most kids who develop this inflammation of the blood vessels (marked by a raised red and purple rash) make a full recovery and have no long-term problems.
Leukemia refers to cancers of the white blood cells. With the proper treatment, the outlook for kids with leukemia is quite good.
Chemotherapy (chemo) is treatment with medicines that stop the growth of cancer cells.
Chemotherapy (chemo) is treatment with medicines that stop the growth of cancer cells. Find out how chemo works and what to expect when getting treatment.
Side effects of cancer treatment can include flu-like symptoms, hair loss, and blood clotting problems. After treatment ends, most side effects go away.
Find out about the mysterious, life-sustaining fluid called blood.
Aplastic anemia happens when the body can’t make enough blood cells. A person can develop anemia, infections, and bleeding. Treatments can help with most kinds of aplastic anemia.
Hemolytic anemia is a type of anemia that happens when red blood cells break down faster than the body can make them.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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