Low platelet counts are often referred to as thrombocytopenia. Platelets are the portion of your blood that form clots in order to stop bleeding and block the flow of blood to an opened wound. If you have a low platelet count, you are likely to notice increased bruising, bleeding and red dots on your skin. Low platelet counts are often the result of chemotherapy drugs, the drugs used in treating cancer patients. Fortunately, there are things you can do in order to increase your platelet count and reduce your risk of bleeding.
Eat a well-balanced diet including plenty of calcium, vitamin K and protein. A well-balanced diet can help your blood clot more easily. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and dairy products.
Get plenty of rest. Resting--especially following treatments for cancer--can help your body recover and your blood cells to repair.
Talk to your doctor, who may be able to prescribe medications that can help prompt the growth of platelet cells in your body.
Visit the hospital. If you experience heavy bleeding and pain, the medical staff at your hospital can help. A blood test will be able to determine if you have a sufficient amount of platelets in your body. According to ChemoCare.com, a normal platelet count is between 150,000 and 400,000 cells per mm3. A blood transfusion may be scheduled in order to help increase your platelet counts. Your medical team may also opt to temporarily halt your cancer treatment until they are able to get your blood counts under control.
Tips & Warnings
- If you have low platelet counts, you should avoid taking medications that interfere with your body's ability to clot blood, including aspirin. You should also avoid contact sports, strenuous exercise, flossing your teeth and the use of sharp objects.
- If you experience bleeding from your nose, mouth or rectum accompanied by pain, contact your doctor immediately.