What Do Low Platelets Mean?

Updated November 21, 2016

Doctors check your platelet count to look for a variety of illnesses. A low count, which is known as thrombocytopenia, can be due to a number of factors.

Bleeding Problems

A person who has a persistent bleeding problem, such as a chronic bleeding stomach ulcer, will have a lower number of platelets.

Autoimmune Disorders

Platelets are destroyed by disorders that attack the organs. For example, an immune system of someone will lupus will manufacture antibodies that attack organs.


Certain medications and drugs can decrease your count. Acetaminophen and Valium are two of the most common such medications. A person undergoing radiation treatment also will have a lower count.

Bone Marrow

Any disease that affects the natural production of platelets by bone marrow can mean a lower count. Examples include leukaemia, anaemia and viral infections like HIV.


During pregnancy, a woman can experience a drop in platelet production. It is estimated that approximately 5 per cent of all mothers will have thrombocytopenia while pregnant.

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