What is The Most Common Cause of High Platelets Count? Does Bacterial Infection Cause Elevated PLT count?

It’s medically known that the commonest reason for elevated platelets count (Thrombocytosis) in FBC test results is the bacterial infection somewhere in the body and yes, if the bacteria infect any site of the body it can elevate blood platelets level at some point of the course of the disease, I said that because there’s a lot of information to know and the question needs more explanation, please read without hesitation

Although, it’s the most known cause of platelets high count in adults and children, the bacterial infection is not a primary reason for thrombocytosis (a medical term for platelets count that’s above the normal limit) but it’s one of secondary conditions to elevate platelets count in the CBC test, so that lab scientists call that a “reactive thrombocytosis” which means the elevated platelets level that’s due to reactive disease (e.g. Bacterial infections). while “thrombocythemia” is the medical name for primary reasons of thrombocytosis (high platelets count).

Can bacterial infection cause high platelet count?

Yes, any bacterial infection in the urine or blood that left without proper treatment can go up to the kidneys and make damage to the kidney filtration parts, and may complicate to the sepsis which can shut down the whole body processes, thus the platelets increase in the blood as a part of fighting system against the infection.

If the bacteria infect the body they begin inflammatory process that elevates serum Interleukins levels (especially IL-6) and activates the circulating platelets and other inflammatory proteins, so that yes, any bacterial infection can elevate platelets. that was why and how the bacterial infections cause high count of platelets in blood test.

Can bacterial infection cause increase or decrease in count of platelets?
Most of bacterial infections causing elevated blood platelets until the infection reach the highest severity, severe bacterial infections can lead to toxemia of the blood (bacteremia) which can destroy platelets, thus Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura will occur.

What is the meaning of bacterial infection?

If you still confused, Bacterial infection means that there’re a type of bacteria that is strange than your body cells enter your body and begin to corrupt everywhere, not only the commonest bacterial infection to the urine, but bacteria strains can also infect any part of the body causing complicated situations and may lead to fatal septic shock if left untreated, e.g. infection to the lungs (pneumonia), infection of the brain and spinal cord by bacteria or virus (meningitis), and infection by botulinum and salmonella toxins (food poisoning).
Simply Thrombocytosis (too much platelet count, i.e. greater than 450,000/µL) is a known complication of the acute bacterial infections.

Well, you may wonder which bacteria can cause elevated platelets in my blood test?

Examples of infections caused by bacteria and may elevate platelets:

Strep throat, coliform bacteria (cause of UTI), Salmonella, or Shigella (cause food poisoning), Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (causing bacterial cellulitis), and sexually transmitted diseases that caused by gonorrhea, Syphilis, bacterial vaginosis, and chlamydia.
Examples of Deadly Bacterial Infections: Pseudomonas Infection, Tuberculosis (TB), Tetanus and Botulism, Anthrax, Leptospirosis, Pneumonia, and Cholera.

Below are some examples of bacterial infections that elevate platelets count:

Can Urinary Tract Infection cause High Platelets Count?

What does it mean by too much platelets count in UTI?

High platelets count in the blood test results in a patient suffers from late stage of UTI can be an important sign of kidney obstruction or abscess to ureters especially if the voided urine volume is reduced and the ultrasound results agreed.
The reasons may because the infection to the kidneys become near or inside the bloodstream which require a move from the blood immunity factors, platelets are one of important factors of immunity against invasions along with neutrophils and C-Reactive protein. That was the answer for why the platelets elevate in the UTI patients.

Can UTI decrease or increase platelet count?

Studies reported that the infection in urine can reduce the number of platelets in the blood are incomplete and unreliable, especially if there are other more accurate studies based on laboratory measurements reported that the long-term infection in urine may cause high levels of blood platelets greater than the normal range.

UTI due to virus or fungi may show blood in urine (i.e. RBCs in urine examination), anemia in FBC test and normal or slightly elevated platelets count.

Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation caused by the overgrowth of bacteria that called commensals of natural flora (because they are naturally live in the vagina to save the natural balance. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) can cause platelets high count in CBC test results.

What is the Platelets level during the UTI?

At early stage UTI, you may not see any change in platelets count in the CBC test but Platelets level in severe UTI may vary between 450,000 to 550,000, which considered mild to moderate thrombocytosis, however, platelets count can be extremely elevated (greater than 850,000) if UTI left untreated for a very long time or the UTI develop a kidney infection (pyelonephritis) because something called ” organism-specific platelet responses” occurred which means that platelets respond to the immunity fighting against microbes.

The platelets count measured is compared to a normal range that is different for gender and age, choose your normal platelets range before interpretation of final results.

Also, if you have another disease such as IDA or pregnancy or SCD can add too much platelets to the test results and may appear very high level in the platelets blood test.

Many pregnant woman have both iron deficiency anemia (low iron) and urinary tract infection during the months of pregnancy which contribute in elevation of platelets results in the FBC test (e.g. 820,000), so yes, it’s possible for one to have many reasons that affect platelets count and lead to thrombocytosis. Understand why IDA causes elevated Platelets count.

Immunocompromised person (e.g. patient with AIDS) can be infected in blood and urine as well, however this person may got multiple infections, in such cases the platelets may appear extremely high in platelets blood test (up to 990,000)

Secondary bacterial infection following the respiratory viral infection can elevate platelets level (e.g. 570,000) although the respiratory viruses usually suppress the blood platelets. Understand why can viral infection elevate platelets count.

It’s scientifically found that the elevated platelet count (thrombocytosis) during the upper UTI due to the gram-positive infections was significantly higher than with UTI of the gram-negative infections, perhaps the gram positive infected the urinary tract less often in compared with gram negative bacteria.

Can kidney infection cause low or high platelets level?

Scientifically speaking, the definition of Kidney infection is a disease when the chronic untreated urinary tract infection (UTI) travels from your urethra or bladder to one or both of your kidneys. The medical term for a kidney infection is pyelonephritis.
Generally, the kidney inflammation occurs after severe urinary infection or due to some infections in the blood such as the strep throat.

Common side effects of pyelonephritis may include pain in stomach, not feeling hungry and loss of taste, diarrhea in addition to nausea and a rash in skin due to elevated blood nitrogen urea.
Lab test results may show protein in the urine (proteinuria), low or high white blood cells count (leucopenia or leukocytosis), and low platelets if the bleeding from renal tissue become severe.

Therefore, the UTI may elevate the blood platelets at the first stage until the pathogen infects the kidneys and cause severe inflammation and bleeding which in turn leading to loss of blood cells including the platelets and red blood cells.

When to Worry About High Platelets (thrombocytosis) in Urinary Tract Infection and kidney infection?

If you randomly done urine test and CBC test, then found excess of pus cells and increased WBC and Platelets count in the blood, you must do kidney function tests because the increase in platelets after UTI can be an indicator of early kidney inflammation, because the microbes that can infect the parts of lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra) can climb the upper urinary tract (to the ureters and kidneys).

Simple UTI can be easily eliminated with nitrofurantoin and other antibiotics, therefore can’t infect kidneys.
If you have chronic UTI that can’t be eliminated for too long period of time, you must do the CBC test, creatinine and BUN tests to ensure there’s no complications to the kidneys, Creatinine is the best marker for kidney inflammation.

What do my platelets high test results mean if I’ve bacterial infection?

Generally, the first stages of sepsis include increasing every component of the body resources in order to encounter the extreme inflammation and win against bacteria and their toxins but if the sepsis become intolerant, the body resources consumed until deplete which represented as very low levels of most body functions.

simple chart explain How can bacterial infection cause high platelets count

Below are some examples of blood test results that evolve during and after the sepsis, On the lab scale, blood test results may reveal that:

Platelets count, thrombocytosis (high platelets in the blood test) follows the sepsis episode, the increased activation of platelets is a result of very high degree of inflammation that the body can’t tolerate at the end and lead to fast and fatal drop in all aspects of human live including platelets (thrombocytopenia, i.e. low platelets in the blood).

MPV (Mean Platelets Volume) increases during prolonged UTI which means the released platelets are increased in their size, it’s can be considered marker of severe UTI episode.

Jaundice due to high bilirubin level in the blood, the elevated type of bilirubin is the unconjugated bilirubin(indirect), but the direct bilirubin and indirect both can be elevated because the sepsis complicated to the degree of failure in many organs.

Severe Hemolytic anemia, a critically low hemoglobin level due to rupture of red blood cells which cause a sharp shortage of RBCs that transport nutrients and oxygen to the whole body parts. How many types of Anemia?

Kidney function, the creatinine and BUN tests will be very high as sepsis worsen, both are body waste products that the kidneys eject in the urination, but if the sepsis infect the kidney, of course they will be inflamed and impaired, therefore the body waste chemicals will circulate into the blood again instead of expel into the urine, thus the body poisoned again by harmful waste chemical in addition to the bacterial poisons from the sepsis. creatinine 2.5, BUN 50, eGFR 40 are examples lab results with kidney inflammation.

Heart function, the Ck, CK-MB, Troponin, pro-BNP test results will be elevated as a result of inflammation to the heart muscle, the greater the results, the dangerous heart failure and death can occur.

Brain damage, if the sepsis penetrates the blood-brain barrier, the brain damage will occur at a quick pace, which may completely disrupt the brain. Neurofilament light chain test (NfL) can identify the degeneration of brain cells if the clinical symptoms are not definitive. Another blood test looking for brain damage is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) test.

Damage to Liver and Biliary ducts can be assessed by LFT test which measure the levels of Bilirubin, Liver enzymes AST and ALT, Alp and GGT enzymes for assessing the biliary damage, low albumin and globulin which assess the damage of liver cell that synthesis proteins, and low prothrombin concentration test which alarm of impaired coagulation function.

Pus cells in urine and High platelets in blood test, what does this mean?

This means urinary tract infection (UTI), but not all UTI patients develop increasing number of platelets or WBCs in the blood count test, but in urine most of UTI patients have pus in their urine along with high count of platelets in their blood test with or without high white blood cells, the reason is that the urine infections seldom elevate WBC or platelets and the immune system can eliminate the infectious microbe perfectly, except in some cases in which the microbe can bypass the immune system, and thus the number of platelets and white blood cells in blood escalate to wage an immune war against it. That’s why platelets and/or WBC will appear elevated in the CBC test.

High platelet count in the presence of UTI and other diseases caused by bacteria infection doesn’t necessarily mean cancer or serious illness and doesn’t indicate leukemia by itself, generally the medical decision must based on many results of lab and imaging along with clinical signs and symptoms to avoid expectations.

In the lab report:

Basically, most labs print platelets like that “PLT” as abbreviation, next to it print the If you found “AGG” flag, the result is not acceptable and must repeated, if you found red flag with abbreviation like “A”, “H”, “*”, “Outside the range”, you should pay attention because the laboratories used to print such marks to highlight abnormal results, you may take a look about the meaning of H letter next to platelets number, Understand Lab report flags and signs

Can sepsis cause high platelets?

Are platelets high in sepsis?

Sepsis is a late stage of infections of the blood that develops poisoning of the body tissues and blood cells including the platelets, the role of platelets is to recall the defenders to come in contact with microorganisms that began the corruption of the body organs, so that at the beginning the platelets count appear high in the blood test, but if the infection agent secretes uncontrollable amount of toxins, the toxins will kill the body tissues faster than the platelets and other immunity factors can resolve it, thus the toxins kill platelets and other blood components lead to decreased platelets count in the CBC test.

What is sepsis and can affect platelets count or not?

Sepsis in the medical terms means the decay, corruption, or dissolution of blood cells that caused by poisoning by prolonged bacterial infection, e.g. strep. infection in children. if a person is septic it means the person is infected. The three stages of sepsis are: sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock.

In microbiology, the science of microbes, the sepsis process denoting the body’s extreme response to infection that reaches dangerous degree by injecting high amounts of toxins that poisoning the blood and lead to decay of blood cells, therefore, the body generally suffers from low temperature, nutrient deficiency, very low oxygen level, and become severely anemic (hemoglobin can be less than 2 g/dL, normal is 11-16).

On the level of organ functions, the skin becomes purple and it has severe itch due to sub-skin patches that come from elevated jaundice level, high blood nitrogens, and shortage of blood platelets.

Lungs is first organ that fail due to sepsis because it usually develop the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), The lips and tongue are blue as a result of oxygen deficiency.

Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (systemic failure) including gut, lungs, and heart failure by sepsis shock.

What is in the urine test results of a person with sepsis?

Urine, visually the urine color may turn dark yellow or greenish due to high degree of sepsis, the urine examination may reveal findings of inflammation (e.g. bleeding by naked eye, proteinuria, hematuria which indicate hemolysis of RBCs too, over count of puss cells which indicate severe leukocytosis in the blood, RBCs casts which indicate renal failure, plenty of epithelial cells which indicate degeneration of lining of the urinary tract.

Is sepsis a painful death or can reversed?

More than two third of people who infected can die by developing sepsis, especially with increasing misuse of antibiotics that make the bacteria more virulent and powerful to the degree the body can’t deal with. However mild stage sepsis can resolve with treatment and the platelets count goes down to the normal again.

How does a person get high platelets with sepsis?
How do u get high platelets in sepsis?
Why do platelets increase with Sepsis?

The answer for all these question is the same, the starting step is the infection that induce the body defensive mechanisms to deal with the microorganism and its toxins, body defense processes are medically called “the inflammation or inflammatory response”.

The inflammation starts when exploring chemicals and platelets sense a stranger microorganism or agent circulating the bloodstream even it’s not seems harmful, then explorers activate coagulation cascades that setup a strict area to stop the foreigner agent from further moving, abundance of blood cells come to engulf and digest the microorganism, other cells collect information about it to ensure better detection next invasion, thus the platelets count increase due to action of sensitivity to invasion to the microbes.

In sepsis, the microbe become more powerful (virulent) and releases a huge amount of bacterial toxins that may disrupt the vital functions of the body and obstacle their performance, and thus a disturbance occurs in the process of containing the microbe (inflammation).

Consequently, the microbe may get out of control and the lysis of blood components occurs in what is medically known as (bacteremia or septicemia, the bacterial blood poisoning), the patient suffers from severe breathlessness or sleepiness as it feels like he’s going to die or pass out. Thus, blood tests show a severe decrease in the number of blood platelets, in addition to a significant decrease in the rest of the blood cells and their components.

Therefore, the Platelets Are Critical Key Players in Sepsis because they stack and adhere together to contain the inflammation area and forming blood clots that trap the microbial products. i.e. the body is still fighting and surviving the sepsis complication as the platelets still high in count but if the platelets count dropped it’s possible the septic shock in the way which lead to death.

That was a try to give you a professional medical explanation in simple words that the ordinary person not a medical staff can understand before goes to a doctor, although one can’t tell every thing about one thing in just one post, so that feel free to messaging us or hit the “Post New” button after making you a new account.

Dr.Megan Ralf

A Medical laboratory Scientist who devoted his life to medical and laboratory sciences, writes his everyday expertise dealing with various pathological conditions through laboratory diagnosis of different body fluids, also participating in many workshops for first aids, infection control, and urgent care. Also Dr Megan Ralf coaching many medical teams.

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