Human blood consists of three components which are red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) and platelets (thrombocytes). Every cell has its own importance. Here we are going to discuss the normal count of thrombocytes or platelets in the blood. Platelets play a very important role in healing process and the formation of blood clots at the time of injury. They are microscopic irregular shaped cells without a nucleus. These are derived from the bone marrow cells known as megakaryocytes. A normal platelet count range varies from 150,000 to 400,000 per μl (microlitre) in a mammal. Even a slight increase or decrease in this range can result in dangerous consequences.
Formation of Platelets
The fragmentation of bone marrow cells known as megakaryocytes produces platelets. Every single megakaryocyte cell produces 5,000 to 10,000 platelets. Platelets have a life span of 5 to 9 days and a normal human adult produces 1x1011 platelets everyday. The extra or reserve platelets are stored in the spleen and are released at the time of need. Phagocytes and Kupffer cells destroy the old platelets hence, giving chance to the new ones to take their place.
Function of Platelets
Whenever there is any injury to the body, the platelets are the first ones to react and reach the injured site. As they are stored in the spleen, the injury causes them to ooze out before the blood. As soon as they reach the damaged part, they start their healing process and activate the other healing components in the body to reach the site of injury. This causes the formation of blood clot and blood is stopped from coming out from the site of injury.
Normal Platelet Count
Normally, a person's platelet count is 150,000 to 400,000 per μl (microlitre). But the normal platelet count range in children is between 150,000-450,000 per μl. There is a slight decrease in the platelet count in pregnancy as there is an increase in the blood produced while the number of platelets remain the same. It is quite normal till 100,000 platelets per μl but if the number goes below this, then it can be a medical emergency. Some women may experience a slight downfall in the platelet count before menstruation. There are mainly three methods which are used to count the platelets in the blood: hemocytometer, voltage-pulse counting and electro-optical counting.
Effects of Abnormal Platelets Count
Both increase or decrease in the platelet count can take you to life-threatening consequences.
Low Platelet Count
Low platelet count or thrombocytopenia may be caused due to less production, increased destruction or may be because of the increased usage of platelets. This can lead to continuous blood flow from the injury site as there will be less number of platelets to heal the wound. Platelet count below 50,000 per μl can be life-threatening. Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) is one of the examples of low platelet count which is caused due to the abnormal destruction of the platelets.
High Platelet Count
High platelet count or thrombocytosis can be a result of high production of platelets or the body's inefficiency to destroy the old platelets. Injury, medication, surgery or may be some disease can cause increase in the number of platelet production. High platelet count can cause blood clots inside the blood vessels which can block them leading to heart attacks, strokes, blood clot in the brain, etc. Platelet count above 1,000,000 per μl can be very dangerous.
The platelets are like the natural healing agents which our body generates to cure itself. Some people have low or high platelet count by birth and some get this disorder due to induced reasons. Whatever may be the reason, there are medications to cure and maintain a normal platelet count. If you have a normal and a healthy platelet count, you can also donate you platelets to the person in need. The process is same as blood donation. Your blood will be taken and then by the process of centrifugation, the platelets will be removed from the blood. This blood will again be transfused into your body and the platelets will be given to the needful. It will not cause you any harm as the body will generate more platelets as per its requirement. So, just take care and if you observe a decrease or increase in the platelet count, go for proper diagnosis. It is very necessary to find out the root cause of the fluctuating platelet count as the reason may be fatal disease.