Treating Thrombocytosis and Thrombocytopenia in NJ, CT, and MD

Blood clots are the body’s natural defense against excessive bleeding. Blood platelets are elements of the blood that are essential in forming clots. They develop in the bone marrow and disperse throughout the bloodstream. Thrombocytosis and thrombocytopenia are blood disorders that affect blood platelet production. Many cases stem from underlying conditions and can cause an increase or decrease in healthy platelet formation.

The hematology physicians of Regional Cancer Care Associates specialize in treating blood disorders with comprehensive, personalized approaches. With more than 20 locations in New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C. area, patients can receive care at an RCCA office close to them.

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About Thrombocytosis

Thrombocytosis is a condition that causes the body to produce an unusually high number of blood platelets. This may lead to more serious problems, such as a stroke or heart attack. The condition most commonly affects older individuals, and may or may not require treatment depending on its severity.  There are two main types of thrombocytosis:  

  • Primary thrombocytosis: This type of thrombocytosis occurs for no apparent reason. The bone marrow creates abnormal and abundant blood cells, making it difficult for the body to form clots after a cut. This may be due to a gene mutation that was not inherited but developed after birth.
  • Secondary thrombocytosis: This type of thrombocytosis develops in the setting of other medical issues, such as surgery, trauma, blood loss, inflammatory conditions, cancer, infections, or iron deficiency.

Many people with thrombocytosis do not experience symptoms. When symptoms do arise, people with thrombocytosis may experience:

  • Tingling or numb feet and hands
  • Swelling in the feet and hands
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Intestinal or stomach bleeding

Causes and Symptoms of Thrombocytopenia

Thrombocytopenia is a blood disorder marked by a decreased number of platelets. It most commonly occurs following the development of other medical issues. Certain diseases or their treatment can cause the spleen to become enlarged. Once the spleen is inflamed, it can start retaining large amounts of platelets, reducing the number of healthy ones circulating in the blood. Thrombocytopenia also can occur when other medical conditions cause the body to destroy healthy platelets.

Conditions, treatments, and other factors that can cause thrombocytopenia include:

  • Leukemia
  • Immune system disorders
  • Anemia
  • Infections
  • Excessive alcohol usage
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Medications
  • Pregnancy

While some patients with thrombocytopenia have mild signs of the condition, others can experience debilitating symptoms. Common signs and symptoms of thrombocytopenia include:

  • An enlarged spleen
  • Easy bruising
  • Fatigue
  • Red dots that appear on the skin
  • Excessive bleeding after cutting the skin
  • Bloody stool or urine
  • Gum or nose bleeding

In addition, women with thrombocytopenia may experience longer and heavier menstrual periods.

Diagnosing Thrombocytosis and Thrombocytopenia

As noted, symptoms of thrombocytosis and thrombocytopenia can be mild or non-existent. This is why many people receive a diagnosis after having a complete blood count (CBC) test for other reasons. The test shows abnormal platelet levels in the blood, alerting doctors of a potential blood disorder. Physicians may look for other potential indications of a problem, such as:

  • Unusual iron levels
  • Blood markers of inflammation

Patients may need multiple tests before a diagnosis can be confirmed. This is because there are many reasons why blood platelet counts can become abnormal. For those with thrombocytosis, physicians may conduct further genetic testing or look for signs of undiagnosed cancer. Cases of thrombocytopenia may also require physicians to examine the spleen for inflammation.

Blood Disorder Treatments at Regional Cancer Care Associates

In many cases, people with mild thrombocytosis or thrombocytopenia will not need treatment. If the patient has an underlying medical condition, symptoms typically resolve once that problem is under control, with platelet levels returning to normal. However, if the condition worsens or becomes severe, patients may need one or more of the following treatments:

  • Medication
  • Platelet removal
  • Blood transfusion
  • Plasma exchange
  • Spleen-removal surgery

The hematologists, medical oncologists, and other health care professionals of Regional Cancer Care Associates serve people across New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C. area. With a dedication to providing compassionate and patient-centered care, our team can assist patients with blood disorders and other conditions. To learn more about treating thrombocytosis and thrombocytopenia, contact us or request an appointment today.

ADDITIONAL LINKS

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Schedule an Appointment at Regional Cancer Care Associates

If you need near-term or ongoing care for anemia or another benign blood disorder, schedule an appointment at Regional Cancer Care Associates. Patients have access to a full range of services across New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, DC area, making it easy to find a location convenient for you. Contact us today to learn more about our benign hematology services.

 

Regional Cancer Care Associates is one of fewer than 200 medical practices in the country selected to participate in the Oncology Care Model (OCM); a recent Medicare initiative aimed at improving care coordination and access to and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries undergoing chemotherapy treatment.