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Low Platelet Count

October 3rd, 2014 · 6 Comments

Prior to my collarbone surgery, I had to get a pre-op authorization that included a blood platelet count. Platelets in the blood help with clotting, so if it’s too low the surgeon will not operate. Mine did turn out to be low; high enough to continue with the surgery, but low enough to merit further investigation.

Possible causes of low platelet count vary from some forms of cancer to problems making the measurement. So off I went to the Ironwood Cancer Center.

After filling 10 test tubes with blood and then a CT scan that included drinking barium and an iodine IV, I went back for a follow-up today to see what’s going on.

Mostly good news. No cancer. Liver, spleen gall bladder, adrenal glands, kidneys and pancreas are normal. The low platelet count was caused by “clumping”: I have a rare antibody (0.1% of the population) that reacts with the solution they mix with the blood to prevent it from clotting. This antibody causes the platelets to clump together so that the automated platelet counting equipment sees several platelets as one, or even doesn’t count them because the clump is too big. So my platelet count is fine.

Incidental to these results, however, I tested positive for the the antibody to Lupus. She assured me that it doesn’t mean I have Lupus, but I now need to follow up on this to make sure. indicates that only 11-13% of the people with a positive test actually have Lupus, and about 15% of healthy people test positive for the antibody. So it’s probably nothing to worry about, but worth following up just the same.

I also have only about 2/3 of the minimum level of vitamin B12, so I will begin supplementing with a pill each day. Maybe that will give me more energy!

And by the way, while were talking about my health, the orthopedic surgeon told me last week that I am free to do anything I want except play basketball. I can practice shooting to my heart’s content, but no floor play until November 1. I can live with that, but it won’t be easy.

Tags: Family Updates

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Richard // Oct 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Wonder if there’s something genetic going on here? I also have a low platelet count. The VA has drawn dozens of vials of blood and not found anything wrong. If you can give me some more information about the “rare” antibody, I will pass it along to them to see if that is my problem too. I don’t seem to have a clotting problem, which is tested frequently because of very thin skin that is easily torn when I’m not careful.

    I am also taking B-12. They suggested that it might help the platelet count issue. It does seem to be a bit higher than before I began taking it.

    Glad you are healing well.

  • 2 Don // Oct 4, 2014 at 7:57 am


    Don’t play basketball until the Dr. releases you.

  • 3 Daryl // Oct 4, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Aw, come on, Don. Please?

  • 4 Mom // Oct 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    I am so glad that I am not getting as old as some of y9u! I showed Daryl my last list of goodies, all the old, normal things which we have always tested for, and I am fine, in everything. Maybe they are testing for too many things, which we never used to even know about! I am so sorry to have a bunch of kids who are sick, but don’t know what has sickened them.

  • 5 Donna // Oct 5, 2014 at 7:26 am

    Our family has always been a pretty darn healthy bunch of folks. I’m thankful we have hardly any cancer in our ancestry, and the ailments we do have seem fairly treatable with modern medicine (with the exception of Sanfilippo Syndrome).

    Glad to hear the shoulder continues to heal well.

  • 6 Daryl // Oct 16, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Went to see my PCP. He isn’t concerned about the positive Lupus test. It’s quite low, I don’t show any symptoms, and false positives are more common than true positives. So I think this episode is over, filled with false alarms.

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