If you have thrombocytopenia, you don’t have enough platelets in your blood. Platelets help your blood clot, which stops bleeding.
For most people, it's not a big problem. But if you have a severe form, you can bleed too much when you’re injured.
A healthy person usually has a platelet count of 150,000 to 400,000. You have thrombocytopenia if your number falls under 150,000.
If you're wondering what the long name means, here's how it breaks down: "thrombocytes" are your platelets and "penia" means...
As many as 100,000 people in the United States have the disease, which causes red blood cells to resemble sickles or crescents. The misshapen cells can reduce blood flow, which starves vital organs of oxygen and can lead to chronic fatigue and intense pain.
Many people who don't have the disease carry a gene for it. Screening is essential, a message Tate will spread this month via Facebook and Twitter (@LarenzTate). "If you can prevent the disease, you can really make a difference in someone's life," says Tate.
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