What are platelets and why are they important?

blood plate lets

Platelets are the tiny cell fragments that circulate in the blood and bind together when recognizes damaged blood vessels. Their role is to help your body form clots to stop bleeding when there is a site of damage or an injury to the body. When they are low, serious or life-threatening bleeding can occur.

The process of spreading across the surface due to inflammation or injury to stop bleeding is called adhesion. Platelets are also called as thrombocytes and when it is circulated in the blood stream, it lives for 7-10 days.

Under a microscope, a platelet looks like a small colorless disc shape cell fragment without the nucleus. Platelets are originated in the bone marrow from very large bone marrow cells called megakaryocytes along with white and red blood cells. They are neither smooth nor round. The reason we don’t bleed to death every time if there is a cut is largely due to particles in our blood platelet.


ALSO SEE: Tips to stay healthy after successful blood donation

Few facts about platelet

  • A normal platelet count ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood.
  • Thrombocytopenia is a condition in which you have less than 150,000 platelets. It causes severe bleeding under the skin as bruising in case of any damage. Thrombocytopenia causes due to many medical conditions like kidney disease, infections, pregnancy, cancer and abnormal immune system.
  • Thrombocytosis is a condition in which you have more than 450, 000 platelets. More platelet count varies from 500,000 to more than 1 million.
  • Platelet transfusion help patients undergoing bone marrow transplants, major surgeries, severe trauma, and cancers.
  • It has a shelf life of about 5 days and there is no substitute for it.
  • After whole blood donation, platelet separates using machines.
  • Donating platelets takes longer time than blood donation. Usually, it takes a half to two hours depending on platelet count.
  • Platelet donation can be performed for every two weeks
  • Platelet donation makes an immediate impact

Prerequisites for platelets donation:

  • You must be in a good health
  • Already be a whole blood donor
  • Must have good veins
  • You have to be blood group A or O
  • Must have platelet count of 250 or higher

Process of Platelets Donation

Platelet donation is slightly different from whole blood donation. In case of platelet donation, the blood collects and separates platelet using machines. These platelets are stored in a container as whole blood. Chills and tingling are the mild side effects of platelet donation. The interested platelet donors must avoid aspirin before donation, consume extra fluids and calcium and avoid heavy lifting.


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