How to Test for Thrombocytosis: High Platelet Count
Thrombocytosis occurs when bone marrow manufactures an excessive amount of blood platelets. Platelets help support the clotting of blood, which stops bleeding. However, when platelet levels are too high, it can cause dangerous side effects like stroke or heart attack. If you display symptoms or believe you are at risk, it is vital to seek thrombocytosis testing to help determine the cause and seek the proper treatment.
This article will share more about thrombocytosis and how to test for it.
What is Thrombocytosis?
If your doctor determines that you have thrombocytosis, then this means that you have too high of a platelet count. Platelets are special blood cells that help the blood clot, allowing the blood cells to bond together to stop bleeding. Platelets are essential, but abnormally high levels are unsuitable for the long-term health of your body.
Testing for thrombocytosis begins with a simple blood draw. A couple of blood tests help to check for and evaluate thrombocytosis, including a complete blood count and an MPV blood test.
High Platelet Count Symptoms
Thrombocytosis often does not cause any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, it is usually a result of the underlying condition causing the high platelet count or abnormal clotting or bleeding in the body.
Symptoms in Children
Thrombocytosis in children is usually related to an underlying infection, inflammation, or iron-deficiency anemia. High platelet counts in children are considered a type of pediatric platelet disorder and may cause symptoms such as small or large bruises on the skin.
Symptoms in Adults
Common symptoms of thrombocytosis in adults include:
- Changes in speech
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Burning on the hands or feet
- Abnormal bleeding such as nose bleeds, bruises, blood in the stool, or bleeding gums.
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High Platelet Count Causes
There are different types of thrombocytosis, and they have other causes. The two main types of thrombocytosis include primary thrombocytosis and secondary thrombocytosis.
Primary High Platelet Count
You may also hear primary thrombocytosis referred to as essential thrombocythemia. This thrombocytosis type occurs when the body produces too many platelets within the bone marrow. When the blood cell production in the bone marrow is abnormal, you can have too many platelets.
Secondary High Platelet Count
Secondary thrombocytosis occurs when an external cause triggers an abnormal platelet count. This type of thrombocytosis could result from a medical condition, an injury, an infection, surgery, or medication.
Certain medications can trigger a rare secondary thrombocytosis type, sometimes called medication-induced thrombocytosis.1 Some medications that might cause thrombocytosis include low-molecular-weight heparins, retinoic acid, certain antibiotics, clozapine, epinephrine, and gemcitabine.
Diagnostic Tests for Thrombocytosis
Because thrombocytosis does not typically cause symptoms until it has gotten more severe, it is typically first detected on routine blood work. Standard diagnostic tests for thrombocytosis include complete blood count (CBC), bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, genetic testing, and imaging tests.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
A complete blood count or CBC is a blood test used to evaluate health by looking at several different values, including:
- Red blood cells
- White blood cells
CBCs are often part of routine blood work.
MPV Blood Test
An MPV blood test may help evaluate the size of your platelets. MPV stands for mean, platelet, and volume. By measuring the average platelet size in a blood sample, this test can give your healthcare provider an idea of how healthy or normal your platelets are.
Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy
If your doctor finds that you have abnormal platelet levels, they may order a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy to help detect any abnormalities in blood cell formation. This procedure involves collecting and sending a bone marrow sample to a lab for testing. Bone marrow is the porous tissue inside the bones, where blood cells form.
Genetic testing pinpoints whether genetics are the cause of thrombocytosis. Gene mutations are prevalent in primary thrombocytosis.
If your thrombocytosis is not causing symptoms, it may only require regular checkups to monitor your levels. However, your doctor may recommend specific treatment options for thrombocytosis, including medication and plateletpheresis.
- Medication Therapy: Certain medications like hydroxyurea and anagrelide can help lower platelet counts.
- Plateletpheresis: A procedure that can filter out extra platelets from the blood, usually only used when platelet levels are so high that you are at risk of life-threatening blood clots.
Thrombocytosis occurs when platelet levels are higher than they should be. High platelet counts can put you at risk of a blood clot when left untreated. Being knowledgeable about and staying abreast of your platelet levels is critical so that you can find a treatment option if your levels are abnormal. Platelet counts become elevated for a variety of reasons. Consulting with a medical professional can help determine if you are at risk of thrombocytosis and require testing.
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Lab Testing - Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to do lab tests occasionally?
It is important to do lab tests occasionally because they can provide valuable information about an individual's health and help to identify potential health issues early on. Lab tests can measure a wide range of factors, including blood count, cholesterol levels, liver and kidney function, and hormone levels, and can provide insight into an individual's overall health and wellness. Additionally, lab tests can help to diagnose and monitor the progression of certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, and can help to identify any potential health risks or concerns. By doing lab tests occasionally, individuals can take proactive steps to maintain their health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of potential health problems in the future.
How accurate are lab tests?
Overall, lab tests are generally considered to be accurate and reliable, but there is always a chance of error and it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to interpret the results.
How is a blood sample collected for lab testing?
A blood sample for lab testing is typically collected through a process called venipuncture, which involves inserting a small needle into a vein to draw blood. This is usually done on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.
What does a routine blood test cover?
A routine blood test is used to check for a range of things, including your blood count and the levels of certain chemicals and substances in your blood. Blood tests can also be used to check how well certain organs, such as your liver and kidneys, are functioning.
What does routine lab work cover?
Routine lab work typically includes a blood test, which is used to check for a range of things, including your blood count and the levels of certain chemicals and substances in your blood. In addition to a blood test, routine lab work may also include other tests, such as urine and stool tests, which can help diagnose and monitor conditions related to the kidneys, liver, and digestive system.
Can a blood test identify cancer?
In some cases, cancer can be detected with a blood test. However, not all cancers can be detected with a blood test, and some blood tests can produce false-positive or false-negative results.
Can a blood test find other particular issues like problems with the heart, liver, or kidneys?
Yes, a blood test can sometimes be used to detect heart, liver, and kidney problems. Blood tests can also be used to measure the levels of certain substances in your blood, such as cholesterol and glucose, which can help diagnose and monitor conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. In addition, a blood test can check your blood count, which can provide information about the health of your red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. However, it is important to note that a blood test is not always able to detect heart, liver, and kidney problems, and other tests, such as imaging scans or biopsies, may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.
What distinguishes a diagnostic test from a screening test?
A screening test is a type of test that is used to identify people who may be at increased risk of a particular condition, such as cancer or heart disease. In contrast, a diagnostic test is a type of test that is used to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis. So, the main difference between a screening test and a diagnostic test is the purpose for which the test is being performed.
Why do lab tests occasionally need to be repeated?
One common reason is that the initial test results were inconclusive or unclear, and repeating the test can help provide more accurate results. Lab tests may also be repeated if the initial results were abnormal and more information is needed to diagnose or monitor a condition. In addition, some lab tests are designed to be repeated on a regular basis, such as to monitor the effectiveness of a treatment or to check for any changes in a person's health over time. Finally, lab tests may be repeated if the initial test was performed incorrectly, or if there was some other problem with the sample that was collected.
Does having normal lab test results indicate I shouldn't worry about anything?
Having normal lab test results does not necessarily mean that you have nothing to worry about. Additionally, lab tests are not always able to detect all health conditions, and some conditions may not produce abnormal test results until they have progressed to a more advanced stage.
What should I do after I have my lab test results?
After you have your lab test results, it is always best to discuss them with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will be able to interpret the results in the context of your overall health and medical history, and they will be able to recommend any necessary follow-up tests or treatments.
What is the cost of a lab test?
In general, the cost of a lab test can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. It is always best to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider to get an accurate estimate of the cost of a lab test.
How is a blood sample for a lab test collected?
A blood sample for a lab test is typically collected through a process called venipuncture. This involves using a needle and syringe to draw blood from a vein, typically in the arm. The skin is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and a tourniquet is placed around the upper arm to help make the veins more visible. The healthcare provider performing the venipuncture will then insert the needle into a vein and collect the required amount of blood. The blood sample is then sent to a laboratory for testing.
Should I do anything to prepare for lab tests?
It is generally a good idea to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider to determine what, if any, preparations are necessary for your lab tests. In general, it is a good idea to follow any instructions provided by your healthcare provider, such as fasting for a certain amount of time before the test or avoiding certain medications. It is also a good idea to bring a list of all medications you are currently taking to your lab appointment.
Why is it necessary to fast before some tests?
Fasting before certain lab tests is often necessary because certain substances in the blood, such as glucose and certain fats, can affect the results of the test. By fasting, you are allowing your body to metabolize these substances, which can provide more accurate test results. Additionally, some tests require that you fast in order to properly prepare your body for the test.
Will a cup of coffee before my lab test mess with the results?
Whether or not you can have a cup of coffee before your test will depend on the specific test that you are undergoing and any instructions provided by your healthcare provider. If you are unsure about whether or not you can have a cup of coffee before your test, it is always best to ask your healthcare provider for advice.
Can my lab test get affected by diet or medications?
Yes, your diet and medications can affect the results of your lab tests.
What do the lab test results mean?
The specific meaning of your lab test results will depend on the specific test that was performed and the reference range provided by the laboratory. The reference range is the range of values that is considered normal for a healthy person, and it is used to interpret the results of your lab test. If your test results fall within the reference range, it generally means that there is nothing unusual or concerning about your test results. However, if your test results are outside of the reference range, it may indicate a potential health concern that should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
Where are the reference (normal) ranges for lab tests?
The reference ranges for lab tests, also known as normal ranges, are determined by the laboratory that performs the test. These ranges are based on a large number of test results from healthy individuals, and they are used to interpret the results of your lab test. The reference range for each test is typically provided on the laboratory report along with your test results.
What if my lab test result is outside the reference range?
If your lab test result is outside of the reference range, it may indicate a potential health concern that should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Additionally, the reference range is just a general guide, and there may be other factors that can affect your test results.
How can I improve my lab test results?
There are several steps you can take to improve your lab test results. First, it is important to follow any instructions provided by your healthcare provider when preparing for a lab test, such as fasting for a certain amount of time before the test or avoiding certain medications. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help improve your lab test results. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking. If you have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it is important to manage it properly and follow your healthcare provider's recommendations for treatment.
Does having abnormal lab test results indicate that I have a health issue?
Having abnormal lab test results does not necessarily mean that you have a health issue. There are many factors that can affect the accuracy of lab test results, such as your diet, medications, and other medical conditions. Additionally, the reference range used to interpret your test results is just a general guide, and there may be other factors that can affect your test results.