It's likely that a routine blood test showing a high platelet count will be your first indication that you have thrombocytosis.
Besides taking your medical history, examining you physically and running tests, your doctor may ask you about factors that could affect your platelets, such as any recent surgical procedures, blood transfusions or infections you've had. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in blood diseases (hematologist).
Your doctor will look for what's causing your high platelet count, including determining whether it's reactive thrombocytosis due to an underlying condition or whether there's no apparent cause, which could indicate essential thrombocythemia or another bone marrow disorder.
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated.
- Write down your health history, including recent infections, surgical procedures, bleeding and anemia.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to take in all the information you hear during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For thrombocytosis, some basic questions to ask include:
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions that arise during your appointment.
Sept. 25, 2012
- Tefferi A. Approach to the patient with thrombocytosis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 8, 2012.
- What are thrombocythemia and thrombocytosis? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/thrm/. Accessed Aug. 8, 2012.
- Tchebiner JZ, et al. Diagnostic and prognostic value of thrombocytosis in admitted medical patients. American Journal of the Medical Sciences. 2011;342:395.
- Skoda RC. Thrombocytosis. Hematology. 2009:159. http://asheducationbook.hematologylibrary.org/content/2009/1.toc. Accessed Aug. 8, 2012.
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