Did you know you can make a platelet-only donation? Keep reading to learn more about the big role these tiny cell fragments play in saving lives.
Platelets originate in bone marrow and circulate in our blood. Their primary function is to prevent and stop bleeding. If a blood vessel is damaged, the body sends signals to platelets which cause them to travel to the injured area. Once the platelets arrive at the site, they clump together to form a clot that helps stop bleeding.
In order to properly form clots that prevent bleeding, our blood needs the proper amount of platelets. A doctor can check your platelet count with a simple blood test. A normal platelet count is 150,000- 450,000 per microliter of blood.The body normally renews the platelet supply continually in the bone marrow. In some cases, there are conditions that can affect this process and lead to low platelet counts. A low platelet count condition is called thrombocytopenia. This condition can occur as a result of many conditions like:
There are also some conditions that can cause the body to destroy platelets faster than they can be renewed which can lead to thrombocytopenia.
Platelet transfusions can help save the lives of patients with low platelet count or platelets that aren’t functioning correctly. Donated platelets are also essential for those who have experienced severe blood loss due to a traumatic injury, certain surgeries or treatment. These platelets can prevent blood loss and further complications of bleeding.
A platelet-only donation takes about two hours, so it’s a great time to enjoy a movie or just relax. Blood is collected by a device that separates platelets, along with some plasma, from whole blood and returns the remaining blood components back to the donor. Learn more at RedCrossBlood.org/Platelets.
Thanks to the critical role they play in saving lives, platelets are constantly in high demand in hospitals. Your body regenerates platelets quickly after donating, so platelets can be safely donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year. Once your donation is received, it must be used within five days, so it is important to donate often to meet demands. Your generosity can help save multiple lives.