Platelets or thrombocytes are blood elements that have their origin in the bone marrow. Still, unlike the other components of blood, they are not cells but the result of the fragmentation of cells called megakaryocytes. They are primarily of proteins and, to a lesser extent, lipids; they are tiny and do not last more than 7 to 10 days in your bloodstream.
They are the most abundant elements in the blood after erythrocytes, approximately 150,000 to 400,000 per microliter. Surely you know about the existence of thrombocytes. Still, perhaps, like many people, you do not know their importance in your body, and if you have had any doubt about what the functions of platelets are, at FastlyHealwe want to inform you about this issue.
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They intervene in the repair of wounds.
If you have suffered an injury that breaks tissue and blood vessels, causing bleeding, your body will intervene as an immediate response to block this blood loss; this action is known as hemostasis, and thrombocytes play a crucial role, so it is an answer to your question about what are the functions of platelets.
When the damage occurs, your thrombocytes are activated to travel mainly to the affected area, adhering to it and forming, together with other proteins that it releases, the platelet plug to close the damaged tissue. In turn, platelets send a signal to cause the production and presence of leukocytes in the wound. As the multiple proteins stimulated by the thrombocytes are activated, the fibrin clot is formed, preventing the outflow of blood.
They stimulate the inflammation process.
Thrombocytes are also known for their action during the inflammatory process, being another answer to your question about platelets’ functions. Its main contribution in this process is the production of mediators; that is, it releases the factors that trigger and starts inflammation, thanks to the conversion of the granules it stores and other components that make them up, such as eicosanoids.
It is necessary to carry out this release of inflammatory factors, mainly chemosis and cytokines, by platelets so that the other components of the immune system are present in the amount and time necessary to intervene in the healing of the affected area, combat possible harmful agents and control the inflammation process.
Help eliminate pathogens
Although leukocytes are the primary blood cells to fight any microorganism that can cause damage to your body, thrombocytes have this property to a lesser extent since they can absorb and neutralize various types of foreign substances that can enter your body, like some toxic particles and even certain parasites, being one of the functions of platelets.
Another way in which platelets help in the elimination of pathogens from your body is by releasing various types of antimicrobial peptides through degranulation, and although it is not their primary function if it is very supportive, especially if your level of white blood cells is low.
Other functions of platelets
Although in low quantity, platelets can promote the synthesis of specific proteins thanks to their constituent elements and their interaction with other components. When thrombocytes are activated, there is a more remarkable synthesis of several proteins than in their resting state, many of them of importance in various processes, such as thrombasthenia, thrombospondin, fibrinogen, albumin, and membrane glycoproteins.
Also, platelets have the property of releasing certain substances that they store, known as growth factors; thanks to these, the indication that new tissue is necessary can be transmitted to the cells, whatever the reason you have epithelial damage. They can also intervene in the repair of blood vessels through healthy vascular tissue cell division.
In the article platelets: what they are and what they are for, we explain more about these essential elements for our health.
Factors that alter the number of platelets
You must maintain an appropriate concentration of platelets in the blood since if you have thrombocytopenia or low levels of thrombocytes, you could present excessive bleeding in the lesion. In contrast, very high levels of thrombocytosis can favor the formation of clots that obstruct the bloodstream causing severe complications, so you should go to the doctor to give you the appropriate treatment. Some causes that can alter the number of platelets in your blood are:
- Infections or allergic reactions.
- Cancer or treatment to fight it.
- Some medications
- Consumption of drugs.
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Anemia, mainly hemolytic or low iron.
- Bone marrow disorders, such as primary polycythemia.
- Spleen removal.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.