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HealthInfo Canterbury

Essential thrombocythaemia (high platelets)

Mate toto-kĊpiapia teitei

Your blood is made of white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, and plasmaEssential thrombocythaemia (throm-bo-sigh-thee-me-a) is a rare condition that causes high platelets.

Most people with essential thrombocythaemia stay well, but they have a higher risk of blood clots because platelets are what make your blood clot. These can lead to a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, stroke, heart attack or the loss of blood supply to a toe or finger.

After many years, people with essential thrombocythaemia can sometimes develop other blood problems, such as anaemia, scarring of their bone marrow (a condition called myelofibrosis) or even leukaemia.

Essential thrombocythaemia is usually treated with low-dose aspirin every day to reduce the risk of blood clots. Some people need additional treatment with medication if they have a higher risk of getting blood clots.

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Written by Haematology Department, Christchurch Hospital. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed February 2023.


See also:

Understanding your complete blood count results

Page reference: 31426

Review key: HIETH-31426