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Mean Platelet Volume
MPV is otherwise known as the "Mean Platelet Volume." Of course, you may be wondering why this particular count has any importance to your daily health, and the answer is quite simple.
Now, let's quickly go over what platelets do in your body and how they can impact your well-being. Platelets are an integral part of your body's defense system and body repair system. Platelets circle the bloodstream and aggregate and clump whenever there is a problem in your epithelial tissues. Because the epithelial tissues line your vital organs and also function in your skin, platelets are essential whenever your body encounters damage in these tissues.
Therefore, every time you have a routine blood exam, a doctor takes your platelet count. The number of platelets in your blood can quickly determine whether or not you have a serious issue. Patients who have bone marrow cancers (typically leukemia) will exhibit extremely low platelet counts as a problem with the formation of the platelets in their bone marrow. However, that is not the point of the mean platelet volume - its purpose is similar, but the actual test is somewhat different.
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MPV Test Results
MPV is a count of how large your platelets are. The purpose of measuring the size of the platelets is also to determine whether or not there is an issue with the platelet production in the bone marrow. The MPV is an accurate test that can quickly help doctors determine what's wrong with your platelets. If your MPV shows up too low, it may be an early indicator of bone marrow cancers like leukemia. Before interpreting blood tests yourself, please discuss your results with your physician before jumping to conclusions — as usual, the doctor knows best.
By measuring your MPV along with your platelet counts, your doctor will better be able to tell you exactly what's wrong with you if there is anything wrong at all. Furthermore, low platelet counts can accompany a series of diseases which can be life threatening. Accompanying thrombocytopenia (otherwise known as a low platelet count) could cause severe bleeding with something as simple as a little cut. If you are a patient with a low platelet count (or know somebody who is), make sure to take proper precautions against cutting or injury of any kind.
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2010 Update for MPV Information
I wanted to update this article because it's been a while since it was written and it keeps getting comments with specific numbers and information asking others if that MPV number is normal, what it means, etc. So I thought I'd take the time to remind those commenting of a few things:
1. Do NOT reveal medical information online. This isn't just my paranoid point of view - revealing medical information online can lead to any number of people seeing your information when you would rather they did not. How would you feel if an insurance agent saw the information you're posting in the comments? Take time to answer that question, and come back and see if it's still worth posting. Also, this leads us to point 2...
2. We here at Brighthub are NOT Medical Doctors that can diagnose problems based on a routine blood examination. Rather than posting numbers and questions in the comments, it would be beneficial to sit down with your doctor and ask him a hard question or two if you feel that your MPV is not normal.
Again, just to reiterate a few things in the article above:
MPV IS NOT DIAGNOSTIC OF ANYTHING ALONE. This is very, very important. If you have a more serious condition, like thrombocytopenia, your platelet counts will be astoundingly low (think 20s or lower). The volume of your platelets could be indicative of further testing that needs to be done or it could just be a normal state for your body.
Bottom line is, while I appreciate that all of you want help and have come to this forum as a place to ask for it, think carefully about the information you post and remember that only your fellow commenter can actually help you, as Brighthub is legally bound to only provide information regarding the test, not information about your specific case. Best of luck to all of you!
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Complete Blood Count, January 26th 2009