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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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High Platelets
Posted by: Jennifer
Date: October 23, 2001 7:05 PM

About two years ago I was told that I had a high platelet count when I had some routine blood work. During that time I also found I was pregnant so only the pregnancy was dealt with at that time. I have since then had two children with the last pregnancy ending 4 weeks ago. Two and a half weeks after the birth of my daughter I had a gall bladder attack and while doing the blood work for the attack I was told that my platelets were three times higher than normal. I will need to have my gall bladder removed, but my question is why are my platelets high and what problems could this cause, if any, if left alone.

RE: High Platelets
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: October 25, 2001 1:24 PM

There are two reasons for a platelet count rising higher that 300,000 per milliliter: there is either an increased production (by cells called megakaryocytes in the bone marrow) or a decreased removal of platelets. In the overproduction mode, the disease is called essential thrombocytosis. In this disease, the platelet counts can rise to over 1,000,000 per milliliter and can give rise to increased clotting. This can be dangerous, either in the brain or the heart, leading to strokes or to heart attacks. When a patient is found to have a platelet count above 800,000 per milliliter treatment is begun to reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack. Why either overproduction of decreased removal of platelets should occur is a bit of a mystery. I suggest you have a hematologist look at this situation and advise you as to what, if anything, should be done.

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