Platelets, The Whole Story

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Feature image from JCWILSON Archive

Platelets.  We have heard that word a thousand times.  We know what they are and we know what they do. Right?  Platelets are just those tiny little things that float around in your blood that magically ‘plug up’ leaks when you need them.  Wrong.  Here’s the whole story, about how platelets are made, what they actually do and how they go about doing it.

What is a Normal platelet count?

A ‘Normal’ platelet count has a very wide range.  Anywhere between 150 and 450 billion platelets per litre of blood is considered normal.  Men and women often differ slightly in ‘normal’ ranges, but not consistently enough for it to be documented.  Any higher than 450 billion platelets and you are in trouble.  Any lower than 150 billion platelets and you have a very different set of problems.

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Where do platelets come from?

Platelets are created by a larger cell in the body called a Megakarycytes.  Pictured.  No, I have never said that word out aloud.  Megakaryocytes are created from steam cells in the bone marrow.

 ITP, low platelet count, low platelets, platelets low, ITP disease, immune system disease, living with itp, blood disorder, Chronic itp, platelets,As a MEGAKARYOCYTES matures it begins to fragment into platelets that are released into the blood.  This fragmentation of the megakaryocytes is very important because it is triggered by the hormone THROMBOPOIETIN. Continue reading

Things I Don’t Do Now.

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  • Clean up the broken glass.

It is Christmas day at my house.  And my mother is handing out presents to the grand children, when a glass candleholder is knocked and breaks on the floor.  Glass shatters and skids across the floor.  The children hold their breath.  Everyone’s eyes turn to mum as she looks down, making sure everything is alright. And finally someone stands up and asks me where the dust pan is.  Of course, it is my house, I should have made a move to help.  It should have been me, but I leaned away from the glass, pulled my legs in and waited for someone else to deal with it. I’m never going to be the one that stands up first to a broken wine glass.  I am scared of broken things.  And that’s as simply as I can put it.

  • Sprint across the street between cars.

I used to do this.  Anyone who has ever lived near King Street in Newtown will know what I am talking about.  A  notoriously congested street near my old house, that I used to dash back and forth across. Now I am more deliberate and cautious.  I wait for larger gaps between cars and I always walk.  I always make eye contact with the driver, like I have told my nieces and nephew to do.  If the drivers have not seen me I tend not to cross, even if I am sure I could make it. Continue reading

Is ITP actually that ‘rare’?

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Feature image from SUPIKUKU

The other day I was reading an article about ITP that popped up in my Facebook Newsfeed.  I forget exactly what it was about but the article defined ITP as a rare blood disorder.  What struck me, as I was reading, was the word rare.  I started to wonder if it were actually true; is ITP a rare disorder?

I thought back to an old article I wrote about PEOPLE LIVING WITH BLOOD DISORDERS, and while the numbers where certainly estimations at best, ITP effects more than 2000 people in Australia every day.  That seems like a lot!

According to Google, more than 5,000 people get online every month and research ‘What is ITP?’.  That’s 60,000 people every year.  The Platelet Disorder Support Association has more than 5 000 FOLLOWERS on Facebook.  There is an annual ITP Conference held in America every year, and that only covers the English speakers.  ITP France has a support group.  ITP New Zealand has a support group.  ITP Ireland has a support group.  Everywhere I looked I found groups of people with ITP coming together.

Perhaps ITP is not really that rare after all?  

Perhaps we are just disorganised and too spread out!

What makes a disease rare?  There are over 8 000 rare diseases registered in Australia.  ITP is one of them.  In Australia, a rare disease is classified as a condition that effects 1 in 10,000 people or less.  This statistic means that ITP barely scrapes through with board line rarity.

A lot of people have commented that many doctors have not known what ITP was.  That has never been the case for me.  Every doctor I have ever seen as been very well informed about ITP.  A recent trip to the dentist even confirmed that my dentist knew all about ITP.

When I actually started to look for rare diseases I found this one, PROGERIA.  Progeria is a disease defined mostly by its rapid ageing of the human body.  Life expectancy for a Progeria patient is around 20 years old, however most children do not live past 13.  This is a disease that is so rare it has only presented itself 140 times in medical history.  Now this is a rare disease! Continue reading

Life Cycle of a Bruise; Understanding Bruises

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Featured Image from DECORIALAB

In a study on The LIFE CYCLE of Bruises in Adults, there where two overwhelming conclusions.  Firstly, that 90% of all bruises will occur on your extremities, being your arms and legs.  The second fact was that one cannot reliably predict the age of a bruise based on it’s colour.

What you can predict from the colour of the bruise, is which stage of healing it is in.  The changing colours of a bruise indicate that the bruise is healing and that it will soon be gone.  A bruise will change colours as it goes through the various chemical processes of healing. Continue reading

Three Types of Blood Donations; Still Looking for a New Years Resolution?

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This information has been taken from the Red Cross Donor’s Information Page.  Many people do not realise that there are three different kinds of donations they can make to the Blood Bank.  For family and friends of people with ITP it can be hard to sit by and do nothing.  Making a donation of Blood, Plasma or Platelets can help friends and family to feel like there is something they can actually do to help.

1. Whole Blood Donation

This involves collecting 3 blood components (red cells, plasma and platelets). O negative donors are always needed for whole blood donations. It is the only blood type that can be safely given to everyone – whatever their blood type, so they are known as ‘universal donors’.
Donations can be made every 12 weeks
Most people are able to donate whole blood if they:

  • are fit, healthy and not suffering from a cold, flu or other illness at the time of donation
  • are between 16-70 years old (in some states 16 & 17 years olds require parental consent)
  • weigh more than 45kg

2. Plasma Donation

Plasma donations involve donating a concentrated collection of plasma only through a process called apheresis.
It takes about 45 minutes, though please allow 1.5 hours for the whole process from interview to refreshments.
You can donate every 2 weeks as your red cells are returned to you when you donate
Blood type A, AB and B donors are particularly needed for plasma donations.
To become a plasma donor you must:

  • have given at least 1 successful whole blood donation in the past 2 years.
  • be between 18-65 years old (men); between 20-65 years old (women).
  • weigh 50kg or more

3. Platelet Donation

Platelet donation involves donating a concentrated collection of platelets only through a process called apheresis.
You can donate every 2-4 weeks as platelets are replaced within a few days of donation.
Blood type A and O donors are particularly needed for platelet donation.
To become a platelet donor you must:

  • have given at least 1 successful whole blood donation in the past 2 years
  • be between 18-65 years old (men); 20-65 years old (women).
  • weigh 50kg or more

Interested in donating?

For full details on eligibility criteria check FAQs.
To make an appointment call 13 14 95.
Find your  nearest donor centre.

 

8 Ways to Heal A Bruise (Quickly)

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Feature Image from filippominelli [dot] com

…And one really dumb way.

Sometimes you just get sick of having bruises. Summer is the ‘Wedding Season’, the ‘Holiday Season’, and the ‘Beach Season’.  The weather is heating up on this side of the globe and the thought of slipping back into a bikini is a reminder of just how many bruises we get.  When I get ready to go out, I walk downstairs and ask my Husband if he can see any of my bruises…

Here are a few ideas to help you heal those bruises quickly and make sure that no one on the beach asks you if you are a professional wrestler.

Number 6 has always worked a treat for me!

Continue reading