What is Thrombocytosis?

Thrombocytosis is a condition where the body produces too many blood platelets (thrombocytes). Platelets are an important part of the clotting process and help the body stop bleeding by forming clots in damaged blood vessels. When the body produces too many platelets, it can lead to a higher risk of experiencing a clot in an artery or vein, as well as other unhealthy conditions. Thrombocytosis is a relatively common condition and can affect people of any age.

Symptoms of Thrombocytosis

Most people with thrombocytosis do not experience any symptoms and may not even know they have the condition. Some people may experience the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest or abdomen
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Headache

Causes of Thrombocytosis

Thrombocytosis can be caused by a number of different conditions, including:

  • Anemia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic infections
  • Inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hormone problems
  • Blood disorders, such as polycythemia vera or essential thrombocythemia
  • A side effect of certain medications, such as anabolic steroids, estrogen, and androgen hormones

Risk Factors for Thrombocytosis

The risk of developing thrombocytosis is increased if you have any of the following conditions:

  • A family history of thrombocytosis or any of the conditions mentioned above
  • A weakened immune system
  • Cirrhosis
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Gout

Diagnosis and Treatment of Thrombocytosis

Thrombocytosis is diagnosed through a blood test. The doctor will look at the number and size of the platelets to determine if the patient has an elevated platelet count. The doctor may also order additional tests to check for underlying conditions that may be causing the thrombocytosis.

If the thrombocytosis is caused by an underlying condition, then the doctor will treat the underlying condition first. Treatment may involve blood-thinning medication, chemotherapy, or other therapies. If the thrombocytosis is not due to an underlying condition, then the doctor may suggest lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.