About The Test
The platelet count test is a lab test which measures the number of platelets you have in your blood. Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are tiny, round cell fragments which circulate in your blood and are essential for the formation of blood clots. A blood clot is a mass of blood that the body forms in order to stop bleeding.
Platelets are one of three main components of the blood along with red blood cells and white blood cells.
Platelet count testing can detect when platelet levels are too low or too high. Low platelet levels make it difficult for the body to form blood clots, which can cause excessive bleeding. High platelet levels can cause too much clotting. Blood clots in the blood vessels can become lodged in the lungs, intestines, brain or heart, and this can result in serious medical conditions.
The purpose of a platelet count test is to assess your blood’s ability or inability to clot. While platelet counts are often included on multi-test panels such as the complete blood count, this test can also be done on its own.
The platelet count may be conducted by your doctor as part of routine blood testing. Platelet counts are also ordered to:
Diagnose a platelet disorder
Assess risk of bleeding before surgery
Monitor you during medical treatments such as blood thinners or chemotherapy.
The platelet count is used to diagnose disease and to help determine the cause of excess bleeding or clotting. Both high platelet counts and low platelet counts can have associated risks that can range from either not causing any noticeable health problems to being very serious and life-threatening.
A platelet count test is also used to monitor patients who have been diagnosed with a clotting condition. Regularly conducting a platelet count allows doctors to check the effectiveness of medications that increase or decrease the blood’s ability to form a clot.