Climbing platelet count deserves care



February 21, 2019 - 9:40 AM

DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife is 58 years old, in good health, exercises and gets regular checkups. The bloodwork from those checkups has shown that her platelet count was 400 a year ago, 600 six months ago and 800 a couple weeks ago. She went to a hematologist who had little more information than her internist on why it’s happening, stating it was “blood tumors.”

My wife has no other symptoms like bruising, bleeding, headaches, tiredness or vision issues. Her blood pressure is within the normal range. The hematologist wants to prescribe blood thinners. The next step will be a bone marrow biopsy. The only thing she takes now is vitamins, and she will add a baby aspirin to her daily routine. The only changes to her lifestyle in the past year have been an increase in weight gain, but she is not overweight, and an increase in alcohol consumption. 

What are the causes of platelet counts dramatically increasing like that? Are there effective ways besides blood thinners to reduce or control the platelet production? — Anon.

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