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Really Low Blood Platelets . . . What is best treatment?

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Old 09-14-2007, 07:16 PM   #1
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Location: Chatsworth, CA, USA
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blessed1953 HB User
Really Low Blood Platelets . . . What is best treatment?

I was diagnosed this year with thrombocytopenia (lupus cousin -- autoimmune condition that attacks my blood platelets). I had a bone marrow biopsy in January 2007, which was negative as far as cancer/luekemia. Over the years my platelet count has been anywhere from 163,000 to 85,000. At 85,000 in 2005 they wanted to put me on Prednisone. I refused because I didn't want to deal with the side effects and was trusting in God that my health would improve. I feel great, exercise, eat healthly and am in the best shape of my life. I went for my annual physical/blood tests in January 2007, my platelets dropped to 56,000. Doctor took the bone marrow test as I stated above in January and ruled out leukemia but continue to monitor me. I just had three CBC tests this week to check my platelets -- now I'm at 17,000. From what I understand this is dangerously low and can cause me to have sudden bleeding for no reason, particularly when the platelets fall below 10,000. By the way I am seeing a hematologist. He is strongly recommending me to take Prednisone for a period of time to see if my platelets increase or to take Decadron (brand name) basically a cortisteriod, 40 mg. for the next 4 days to see if my platelets increase. I am not a proponent of taking drugs -- in fact I feel with the side effects they do more harm than good. Can anyone experienced or know anyone experiencing platelets this low and have they found a treatment/options that proved successful; ie., drugs, transfusions, removing spleen, etc.. What about herbal remedies? I am really need a lot of encouragement and would love to hear from someone who has experienced this and what they found. I've never been sick in my life, except for a cold once in a while.

Thanks for your time.

Have a blessed day. . .

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Old 09-24-2007, 11:13 AM   #2
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micandlebunkin HB User
Re: Really Low Blood Platelets . . . What is best treatment?

There are 2 different types of Thrombocytopenia that I am aware of: ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura) and TTP (Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia Purpura). The difference as explained to me is the way in which the platlets and red blood cells are being destroyed in the body. They use different treatments for each type (probably also share some of the treatments...?).

In April 1999 I was diagnosed with TTP (age 32). I was placed on steroids. And given Plasma Pheresis treatments: Your blood is ran through a machine similar to a dialysis machine. It separates your red blood cells and plasma. They give you back your red blood cells and donated plasma. You may have an allergic reaction to the plasma. I had one reaction out of the over 100 treatments I had. It often takes time for the plasma pheresis treatments to work. I was told that the treatments are "training" your body to not destroy your platelets. I also had my spleen taken out; was given VanCristin, chemotherapy; was given Cytoxan, chemotherapy. My TTP turned into ITP in July and then I was given Immunoglobulin and it went into remission. I still needed the plasma pheresis for a while (still "training" the body). My platelets actually dropped to 7,000 at one point (but that was due to a "mistake" and I was given Heparin after surgery to insert a permanent vein catheter for the pheresis treatments). Anyway the TTP has been in complete remission since August 1999, platelets at 450,000. I do believe that they do other treatments now also. I also was diagnosed with Lupus in May of that year. And I thought I just had the flu...LOL!


Old 09-24-2007, 06:55 PM   #3
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Re: Really Low Blood Platelets . . . What is best treatment?

Thank you . . . your reply was helpful. Hope all is continuing well for you and your health.

Update. . .my platelets dropped to 12,000 last week (pretty low). I was so nervous because I understand if the platelets get too low you can spontaneously bleed. Even worse, I understand you can hemmorage in the brain (stroke). Scarry . . . I was deathly afraid of taking prednisone that my hematologist recommended because of the horrible side affects I've read about particularly if taken long term. I prayed about it, got a second opinion and realized if I didn't take something right away, I would have serious problems. He then recommended me take Decadron (a potent corticosteriod) 40 mg for 4 days to see if this will help to get my platelets up into a safe range. My platelets will be checked this week. If they have not increased, I will need platelet transfusion. Is this procedure safe; any side affects? As I mentioned, I've been diagnosed with ITP. I understand that I produce platelets; however, they are being destroyed by my immune system and we don't know why. Has anyone with this issue been able to be healed through natural methods; i.e., homeopathic or natural methods?

Inspite of all of this, I'm grateful to be alive. I know through this challenge God is working in me for a greater purpose.

Thanks for your help. . .God Bless.


Old 09-26-2007, 11:24 AM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Shelby123 HB User
Re: Really Low Blood Platelets . . . What is best treatment?

Hi. I hope I can help. I have had ITP (secondary to Lupus) for nine years. The chances of a spontaneous brain bleed or stroke are very, very low. People with ITP are usually able to tolerate low platelets due to the fact that platelets are large (new, baby ones are bigger) and the fact that we tend to have platelet microparticles (fragments). However, it is wise to begin treatment at counts under 20 or so.

I know you don't like the thought of steroids. I completely understand that, having been there a few times. But it really is the best option for now. I'm very surprised that your hemo suggested a platelet transfusion. That is usually not recommended for ITP. One reason is because it won't last more than a few hours due to platelet destruction. It is usually used for emergencies only (accidents, surgeries).

Spleen removal is normally a last resort, and since you have not even had one treatment yet, you are far from having to make that decision. I still have my spleen and will not have it removed, especially having Lupus.

Also, platelet production can also play a part in ITP. Recent research has shown that and many doctors are still not aware of it. I can post some articles if you want.

Old 09-26-2007, 04:51 PM   #5
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blessed1953 HB User
Re: Really Low Blood Platelets . . . What is best treatment?

Thanks Shelby123 . . . your reply was very helpful. Glad to hear that there is a low chance of stroke or brain hemmorage. My doctor scared me to death -- I was understanding it could happen any moment. I guess he was just trying to get me take the steriods as I didn't quite understand my situation was getting grave!

I finally took the steriod (Decadron), 40 mg, for 4 days that the doctor strongly recommended as my platelets had dropped to 12,000. Good news . . . in 2 days my platelets went to 22,000! I had another test today and hopefully they went up even more. Question .. . I'm really dizzy and unstable after taking this steriod. Is that normal. It feels like my equilibrium is off. I'm not feeling good at all. Have you experienced this? At any rate, I'm grateful that my platelets are increasing . . .hopefully they will stay that way for a while.

I want to learn all I can regarding this condition. Knowledge is power . . . Also, have you had any success with natural, homeopathy treatements in regards to ITP?

Have a blessed day!


Last edited by moderator2; 09-26-2007 at 06:23 PM. Reason: posted email address

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