Wednesday, November 28, 2007

11/28/07 - Effects of Low Platelets

This is a post that I've been thinking about doing for a few months now. I've already edited some photos. More to come...

*** UPDATE 01/08/08 ***

Platelets are mostly responsible for blood clotting, and when they are low, there are multiple related effects. I'll go through a few I have experienced.

Excessive Bleeding - When my platelets are low, I'm not supposed to do anything that could result in my being cut. I'm not supposed to ride my recumbent trike, shave with a razor (unless it's electric), handle knives, or the like. I obey some of them... Most of the time, I "notice" my platelets are low when my cat scratches me. When he scratches me (due to my taunting and magnified by my slow response), the resulting cuts bleed for a while and my blood looks "funny." That's very non-technical, but I swear my blood looks different when my platelets are low.

My hand, bleeding from a "Karl Puncture."

Easy Bruising - Bruises seem to just appear when my platelets are low. I can remember the causes of the larger ones, but I don't track the smaller ones, probably because they don't hurt when they begin. For instance, a bruise formed when I ripped the tape off a blood count access. I was surprised at how bad it looked, but it did not hurt. Here are a few examples.

A large bruise, on me bum (in a British accent).

My arm, bruised by an Arinesp injection.

My arm, bruised by removing the tape over a blood draw.

Petechia - "Pe-teek-kee-yah" can be caused by low platelets. I've only experienced it once that I know about. To an observer, it just looks line red spots on your skin. I think it is from breaks on small capillaries. When I experienced it, it was only on my left hand, it didn't hurt, and I suspect the cause was sleeping strangely on my hand. I tried to take a picture, but the red spots don't seem to come out that well...

My hand, with Petechia.

Broken Toe - This was certainly not caused by low platelets, but the bruising that followed may have been. I broke it when walking from the second floor to the first floor of our house. The power happened to shut off when I was about 2/3 of the way down. I missed the last stair and landed awkwardly on my foot. I can only assume it was broken because it hurt for more than two weeks, but I didn't want to see another doctor about it. It's kind of amazing that this took so long to happen, because I'm constantly running into (kicking) things.

My feet, showing my bruised "broken" toe.


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