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It's A Sticky Situation

Have you ever heard your doctor talk about your platelet count and wonder why that might be important? A person can have either too little or too many platelets clustered in one area. Today we are going to learn about the latter of the two and why it is important for your health.

Platelet are cells found in the blood stream, created by bone marrow. Another word for platelet is thrombocyte. They are largely responsible for hemostasis (control of blood loss through clotting).

When there is damage to a blood vessel our platelets become activated, which causes them to be sticky (Under the microscope activated platelets will appear to have a bit of a star shape instead of a smooth surface.) When the platelets are sticky they send out messages to attract other platelets and then cluster together to form a clot. This is referred to as platelet aggregation. It is an important process and can reduce excessive bleeding.

The image below shows the different shapes of the thrombocytes as the begin to form a clot.

Platelets can also be activated by other body processes or activating chemicals. A few examples of this include:

  • Adrenaline (high stress)

  • Blood sugar imbalance

  • Bacteria & Viruses