Reactive thrombocytosis is an unusually high platelet count. Also known as secondary thrombocytosis, it results from an underlying health condition, an injury, or a medication.
For platelets, this contribution is helping the blood to clot. When high platelet counts are due to an injury, a health condition, or a medication, your doctor may diagnose reactive thrombocytosis. You may only discover that you have reactive thrombocytosis when your doctor does blood work.
If they discover that you have a high platelet count, they may recommend additional testing to rule out any serious underlying causes.
In most cases, addressing any health issues will normalize your platelet levels.
A typical platelet count is 150,000–450,000 per microliter (μL). When your platelet count exceeds 450,000/μL, you may have thrombocytosis.
Doctors typically divide thrombocytosis into two categories: reactive thrombocytosis and primary thrombocytosis. For proper treatment, it’s important for your doctor to determine which you have.
Reactive thrombocytosis, which is also known as secondary thrombocytosis, is an unusually high platelet count due to an underlying health condition, an injury, or the use of a medication.
Those with primary, or essential, thrombocytosis have a rare blood condition that causes the bone marrow to produce too many platelets. They have a higher risk of clots or bleeding.
Causes of reactive thrombocytosis may include:
- blood loss from an injury
- an infection
- iron deficiency anemia
- not having a spleen (asplenia)
- chronic inflammatory conditions
You don’t have a
Most people with reactive thrombocytosis
- headaches or seizures
- chest pain
- weakness or dizziness
- shortness of breath
- pain in the arms, legs, hands, and feet
- changes in speech
In rare cases, excess platelets can cause bleeding. This may appear in the form of:
- bloody stools
- bleeding gums
Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat any underlying health conditions causing your elevated platelet levels. For example, they may prescribe iron supplements to help reduce platelet counts if you have inflammatory bowel disease.
If platelet levels are especially high or don’t improve as expected, your doctor might recommend a platelet-lowering medication. This
If you have high platelet levels, your doctor may also recommend aspirin to
Platelet-lowering medications can have side effects like nausea, dizziness, headaches, fluid retention, or sleepiness. You may wish to discuss these with your doctor before taking these medications.
While it’s not likely to be necessary,
During plateletpheresis, blood exits the body through an intravenous (IV) tube, goes through a machine that removes platelets, and returns to the body through another IV line.
The platelet reduction accomplished by plateletpheresis
If you’re pregnant, you may also experience pregnancy complications.
Your outlook with reactive thrombocytosis
While reactive thrombocytosis itself is typically a benign condition, you may have a poor outlook if it’s related to conditions like gastrointestinal cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
If you have reactive thrombocytosis, it means you have an unusually high platelet count due to an underlying health condition, medication use, or an injury.
People with reactive thrombocytosis don’t often have symptoms, so you might not know you have it unless blood work reveals your higher platelet count.
Reactive thrombocytosis will typically resolve once a doctor addresses the underlying issue, but your outlook with the condition depends on its cause.
If your doctor determines that your platelet count is high, they may recommend additional testing to rule out health conditions like cancer.