MPV or Mean Platelet Volume refers to the blood test of the platelets size in a blood sample. The platelets are components of the blood system responsible for halting the bleeding by clotting blood vessel injuries. A complete blood profile, called CBC (Complete Blood Count) is a blood test that examines low MPV counts.
A low MPV reading refers to a platelet count below normal. It can be caused due to different diseases, injuries, disorders, drug reactions, and natural hormonal changes. In case of injury, a low MPV count may increase the risk for serious blood loss.
Low MPV readings are observed in woman’s menstrual cycle and in newborn babies. Sometimes during the collection of blood samples, the blood starts to clot even before the sample was tested, indicating low MPV. There are no conclusive tests to identify a single cause of low MPV.
Causes of Low MPV Levels
Here are the most common conditions that are known to result in abnormally low levels of MPV:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Average platelet count goes down due to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Treatment of IBD will help in increasing MPV.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Low MPV has been reported in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and the count also increases after treatment.
- Viral infections
A respiratory viral infection is diagnosed via low MPV readings in a CBC. Patients with respiratory infection also often show low MPV.
Low MPV can help to diagnose acute appendicitis. Stomachaches caused due to appendicitis will likely result from low MPV. MPV in the CBC is required to properly determine appendicitis.
- Autoimmune disorders
Low MPV levels are quite common in autoimmune disorders. For example, low MPV is mostly seen in the active lupus cases.
- Certain cancers
Bone marrow cancer can cause a low MPV. Studies show that platelet distribution can help diagnose and treat bone marrow metastasis.
- Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF)
This is an autosomal recessive genetic disease causing frequent fever attacks, arthritis, skin disease etc. FMF patients with secondary thrombocytosis are expected to have low MPV.
- HIV and AIDS
HIV-infected people have lower MPV than uninfected people, which points to weak production rather than a greater damage.
Thrombocytopenia patients usually suffer from excessive bleeding due to low platelet count, which can further make blood clotting quite difficult.
Symptoms of Low MPV
Common signs and symptoms of low MPV include:
- An enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)
- Blood in the stools or urine
- Easy or excessive bruising
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Bleeding from the nose or mouth
- Extremely long menstrual cycles
- Anal bleeding
- Inability to stop the bleeding from a small cut or wound.
What to do In case of Low MPV?
It is best to consult a doctor in case of low MPV. A doctor will help to determine the potential causes of low MPV and a possible treatment. A healthy diet and certain foods can help combat low MPV levels. Certain foods may include tuna, berries, turmeric, garlic, green tea, and extra virgin olive oil.
Low MPV is not easily treated as there can be an underlying cause behind it. A doctor may prescribe a treatment depending on MPV reading. If low MPV is caused due to a prescribed drug, the doctor may switch the patient to a different one. Patients with extremely low MPV may get treated for platelet transfusions to avoid profuse bleeding.
It is important to know the MPV reading as lower counts can lead to serious health issues. In case of being treated for a specific disorder that directly affects the platelets, the doctor will examine the levels. It is best to discuss any concerns one may have about excessive bleeding and the prescribed medicine with a medical specialist.