ZocdocAnswersWhat does it mean if you have a low platelet count?

Question

What does it mean if you have a low platelet count?

My doctor said that I have a slightly below normal platelet count in my blood. What does this mean? He didn't think it was a problem.

Answer

The platelets, as you probably know, are one of the components of your blood that is involved in blood clotting. The exact level of platelets does tend to fluctuate up and down, depending on what else is going on with your health. For example, platelet counts may commonly fall with some viral infections that suppress their production transiently. Most of the time, this is no big deal, as the platelet count tends to recover. Since your primary care doctor did not seem to worried about the issue, I bet this is what they think is going on. It would be important to check your platelet count later on just to make sure that it has recovered, and you should talk with your primary care doctor to figure out when this repeat testing should occur. If your platelet counts remain low and do not recover, then this could be a sign of a more serious medical problem and it may need to be worked up more thoroughly. Your doctor will want to investigate for other obvious causes of low platelets (for example there are several prescription medications that can lower the platelet counts) and they may want to refer you to a hematologist.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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