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What are Platelets

This post will tell you exactly what platelets are and what they do. At the end of the post you will also find a few other interesting facts about platelets.

What Are They?

Platelets (sometimes called thrombocytes) are small bodies made out of cytoplasm. The cytoplasm is a gel-like liquid substance that holds all the parts of a cell together (except the nucleus). Just think of it as a gooey substance that keeps your cells in one piece. As they are made only of cytoplasm, platelets contain no genetic material (DNA or RNA).

What Do They Do?

Platelets are involved in hemostasis. This is just a big scientific word that means that platelets help stop animals and humans from bleeding. Whenever you cut yourself and start bleeding, platelets begin their work forming a blood clot so that the bleeding will stop. Without platelets we would all bleed to death when we got the slightest cut as there would be nothing to stop the bleeding.

Other Facts

  • Excessive bleeding occurs when platelet counts are low.
  • High platelet counts are even more serious. High counts can lead to blood clots which restrict the movement of blood and cause strokes or heart attacks. You may have heard of a condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When people are constricted and do not move their legs very often, such as when they are on a long plane trip, clots can form in veins in the leg and cause strikes and heart attacks.
  • The lifespan of a platelet is around 8-10 days.
  • Old platelets are destroyed in the spleen and liver.
  • An average adult produces 100,000,000,000 platelets a day!

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(2) Comments

  1. what is the process that occurs when are bodies adjust to hot weather. I seem to remember that the platelets have to do something before our bodies ca adjust. Can you help me?

  2. Platelets are just one of many things that helps the body maintain a constant core temperature (called homeostasis). So they do have some importance in adjusting to hot (or even cold) climates. They do this by preventing blood loss as energy is lost from the body in this process.

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