Platelet Rich Plasma therapy, or PRP, has been used for years to treat a number of conditions. Among these are osteoarthritis, hair loss, scars and facial rejuvenation.
What makes PRP therapy so versatile and effective is that it is an all-natural treatment that relies on the patient’s platelets to elicit amazing healing results.
However, some patients may run into an unexpected complication when they begin the process of PRP. That’s because their doctor may tell them that they have a condition known as thrombocytopenia, in which their blood has an unusually small number of platelets.
In general, having a healthy number of platelets helps to better ensure the success of PRP therapy. This makes it desirable for patients with thrombocytopenia to do everything that they can to increase the platelets that are present in their blood.
What Do Platelets Do?
Platelets are cells that occur naturally in the body. They circulate in the blood, and when they discover damaged blood vessels, they bond together to cause the blood to clot.
It is this characteristic that makes platelets so valuable to PRP therapy. Whenever you have an injury, the damaged blood vessels send out a message to the platelets. This causes the platelets to transform from flat, disc-shaped cells to cells that feature thread-like tentacles. It is the tentacles that attach to the damaged blood vessels to form a clot and begin the healing process. Moreover, the platelets communicate with other platelets so that more of them come to the rescue.
PRP therapy operates along much the same lines. The doctor withdraws some of the patient’s blood, then spins that blood in a centrifuge machine. This isolates the plasma and platelets. The plasma contains many other elements that also do repair work throughout the body.
After the platelet rich plasma is separated from the white and red blood cells, the PRP is injected into the patient’s treatment site. After injection, the PRP stimulates tissue healing using the body’s natural mechanism for healing and repair.
Do You Have a Low Platelet Count?
Some people consult with their doctor about whether or not PRP therapy is right for them, only to find out that they have a low platelet count. Optimally, patients should have between 150,000 and 450,000 platelets present in each microliter of blood.
With this number of platelets, the patient is extremely well adapted for fast, effective healing.
However, people who have fewer than 150,000 platelets per microliter of blood have a condition that is known as thrombocytopenia. Because of this condition, it is difficult for the patient’s body to stop bleeding whenever any kind of trauma or injury is experienced.
The symptoms of a low platelet count may include:
- Headaches occurring after minor injuries
- Bruising with exceptional ease
- Skin that is marred by red, dark spots known as petechiae
- Brushing the teeth may cause bleeding from the nose or mouth
- Excessive or spontaneous bleeding
If you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis, then it would be wise to consult with your physician as soon as possible. This condition can cause serious complications if it is not addressed in a timely manner.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to be suffering from any of these symptoms to have a low platelet count. If your platelet count is only slightly low, you may not notice any symptoms. Nonetheless, when your doctor screens you for PRP therapy, you may learn from your Complete Blood Count test that the number of platelets in your blood is low.
What Causes Low Platelet Counts?
Numerous conditions may contribute to a low platelet count. These include:
- Sepsis, hepatitis C and HIV
- Kidney disease
- Side effects of certain over-the-counter or prescription medications
- Heavy alcohol intake
Some of these conditions may be able to be reversed with proper treatment. For instance, your doctor may recommend that you stop drinking alcohol, take iron supplements to deal with anemia or stop taking any medications that thin the blood.
Additionally, your doctor may prescribe a medication that is formulated to raise your platelet count.
Natural Remedies for Low Platelet Count
The foods that you eat also may affect your blood platelet count. Scientists recommend eating foods that are rich in folate, iron, and vitamins B12, C, D and K. It also may be possible to raise your platelet count by taking supplements that contain these nutrients.
Foods that are folate-rich include beef liver, black-eyed peas, yeast, rice, dark green leafy vegetables and legumes.
Iron-rich foods include choices such as kidney beans, white beans, oysters, lentils and tofu. Foods that are rich in the recommended vitamins include beef, eggs, fish, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, citrus fruits, leafy greens, pumpkin and fortified yogurt and milk.
Exercise May Help Too
Did you know that doing some high intensity cardio exercise is a great way to ramp up your body’s production of red blood cells? It’s true! This kind of exercise also does wonders for your immune system.
As you perform high intensity exercise, your body produces more red blood cells, and that leads to the production of more PRP in your blood. Your seriously boosted immune system also will help to support greater success with your PRP therapy treatments.
The American heart Association recommends that healthy adults get approximately 150 minutes of exercise each week. Most people don’t get anywhere near this much exercise, but if you put in the effort for a few weeks or months, you are bound to see the difference, and it will show in your blood tests as well.
Make Healthier Choices
The healthier your choices are, the more PRP you will have in your blood. This means that it is wise to give up smoking, drink alcohol only rarely and in moderation and to forego any illicit drugs.
Smoking cigarettes actually has a direct effect on the efficacy of PRP therapy. This is not only because the smoking habit reduces the amount of PRP in your blood but also because of the toxins that are present in cigarette smoke. These toxins may impede the ability of stem cells to function normally.
Clearly, the healthier your lifestyle choices are, the more successful your PRP therapy is likely to be. For best results, refrain from smoking, drinking alcohol and taking drugs.
Hydrate for Success
The old advice regarding drinking eight, eight-ounce glasses of water holds true today. The better the hydration level is in your body, the more PRP will be present in your blood.
Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
Now that you have done everything you can to boost the number of platelets in your blood, you may be ready to undergo PRP therapy. Your doctor will let you know if you are now a good candidate.
However, your work is not over once the procedure is complete. It is now essential that you follow all of your doctor’s guidelines for care after the treatment. This will ensure that your therapy gives you the best possible results.
Contact Integrative Physical Health
Contact us today to learn more about PRP therapy and how it can transform your life. If you have a low blood platelet count, there are many things that you can do to correct the condition so that you are a good candidate for PRP.