Rheumatoid Arthritis And Low Blood Platelets Count
Yesterday my seventy eight years old mom went for a check up in one of the well known medical facilities. She was told to go for knee replacement as her Rheumatoid Arthritis had very badly affected both of her knees. After the basic check up she was told that her blood platelets were very low. Frankly speaking, we were quite surprised as till now we had heard about low blood platelet counts related to dengue fever only, and as far as we knew she wasn’t suffering from fever or any other symptom related to the dreaded dengue fever. So once again Google came to my aid as I googled ‘Causes low blood platelets’. This is what I came to know about low blood platelets.
“Thrombocytes” are your platelets and “penia” means you don’t have enough of something. Okay! this is what I learnt that thrombocytopenia is the term used for low blood platelets and if you suffer from thrombocytopenia, that means you don’t have the required number of platelets in your blood. As we all know blood platelets help our blood clot, which in turn helps stop bleeding. Having lesser platelets than normal, generally speaking is not that big an issue but if the loss is extreme, you might bleed too much when you’re injured, as the process of blood clotting won’t take place. Platelet count of a healthy person is 150,000 to 400,000 but if your count is lesser than that then you have thrombocytopenia.
There are various reasons which can cause the human body to use up or destroy platelets more rapidly than they are produced. This leads to a shortage of platelets in bloodstream. Some common reasons are-
Pregnancy causes mild thrombocytopenia or low blood platelet count.
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
Sometimes body’s immune system mistakenly thinks of platelets as a threat and forms antibodies that attack them causing loss of blood platelets.
Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis
Various diseases in which human body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues causing thrombocytopenia. Lupus is another such auto immune disease.
- Bacteria in the blood
Severe bacterial infections in the blood cause loss of platelets.
Certain medications like quinine, anticonvulsants and gold salts can reduce the number of platelets in human blood as the immune system gets confused causing serious destruction of platelets. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are also known to contribute to the reduction of platelet count.
After reading all this I realised that my mom’s Rheumatism had taken its toll leaving her blood platelets low. These symptoms were actually seen on her body which we thought to be a normal thing.
Symptoms of a low blood platelet count may include :
- If you get easily bruised and bleed for a long time.
- If you see internal bleeding that looks like tiny reddish-purple spots on or just under the skin.
- If you see blood in urine or stools.
- Spontaneous bleeding from the nose or gums.
- Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding
For a long time my mom was complaining of reddish spots all over her body especially on her legs. Nose bleeding was a very common thing during winters as she repeatedly told me on phone that without any reason her nose bled. Now we understood that all these were symptoms of low blood platelets count as she was a long sufferer of rheumatoid arthritis. No wonder the doctor had told to go for a treatment of low blood count before her knee replacement.
Home remedies to increase platelet count
- Eating a healthy diet comprising of green leafy vegetables is an easy remedy that works well.
- Taking a lot of vitamin C in the form of fresh fruits vegetables and supplements is a must as vitamin C is water soluble so it very easily gets absorbed and helps in restoring the body’s platelet count.
- Ayurveda has many herbal medicines helpful in this condition.
- The most common home remedy is to drink the bitter juice of papaya leaves without the stalk.
We got late in recognising what our mother was going through, but you must look around and check if anyone around you have the above mentioned symptoms.
Now you know how Rheumatoid Arthritis and low blood platelets count are interlinked?
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