Mean platelet volume, or MPV, refers to the medical test reading of the size of the platelets in a blood sample.
The platelets are components of our blood responsible for stopping any bleeding by clumping and clotting blood vessel injuries.
The volume is determined by a machine, and a complete blood profile, known as a CBC (Complete Blood Count), is a blood test that checks for low MPV counts.
This reading determines if a patient’s body is producing larger than average platelets, indicative of platelet destruction or bone marrow diseases.
Having a low or high MPV may not be cause for concern alone; it should be considered alongside the other CBC results, like platelet count. Your doctor will typically use the MPV test to decide whether further testing, such as a bone marrow biopsy, is needed.
Several things can affect your MPV. In this article, you will learn everything about a low MPV range, including the causes and symptoms of low MPV. We also tell you what to do when you have low MPV.
In this article:
What Is Normal MPV Range?
The volume of platelets is measured in femtoliters, or fL. One fL is equal to the metric unit of one quadrillionth of a liter. As it is hard to imagine that minute of an amount, the normal MPV should range from 7.5 fL to 11.5 fL. With that, patients with a MPV between 9.7 fL and 12.8 fL are still deemed to be in a good range.
These number ranges are determined by a number of factors, one being the psychological state of the patient. Previous studies have shown a link between major depression and increased platelet activity.
The volume levels can also change due to diseases and hormonal changes. For instance, a post-partum MVP reading will register higher than normal.
Low MPV: What Does It Mean?
A low MPV result refers to a blood platelet count lower than normal. It can be attributed to various disorders, diseases, injuries, drug reactions, and even natural hormone changes in the body. A low MPV count does increase the risk for serious blood loss if you are injured.
Low readings are seen in the early days of a woman’s menstrual cycle and in newborns. Even during the collection of blood samples, low MPV results have been discovered as the blood had clotted before the sample was tested.
There have not been conclusive tests to pinpoint one cause of low MPV readings.
Causes of Low MPV Levels
The following conditions have been known to result in abnormally low levels of MPV:
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Average platelet size decreases due to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Treatment for IBD will help increase MPV.
Rheumatoid arthritis: Low MPV levels have been reported in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, but levels tend to also increase after treatment.
Viral infections: A respiratory viral infection is diagnosed through low mean platelet volume readings in a CBC. Respiratory syncytial virus infection patients also often show a low MPV.
Appendicitis: Low MPV can help determine an acute appendicitis diagnosis. When stomachaches are due to appendicitis, there will likely be low MPV. MPV in the CBC is needed to diagnose appendicitis accurately.
Autoimmune disorders: Low MPV levels are often common in a number of autoimmune disorders. For instance, low mean platelet volume has been observed in active lupus cases, rather than in people without a flare-up.
Certain cancers: Bone marrow cancer can cause a low mean platelet volume. Research shows that low MPV with platelet distribution width will help treat and diagnose bone marrow metastasis.
Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF): This is an autosomal recessive hereditary disease where there are frequent attacks of fever, arthritis, pleuritis, peritonitis, or erysipelas-like skin disease. Lower MPV is expected in FMF patients when there is secondary thrombocytosis.
HIV and AIDS: HIV-infected women have lower MPV than uninfected women. This suggests impaired production rather than greater destruction.
Thrombocytopenia: Often a cause of low MPV, especially if it results from aplastic anemia, which interrupts platelet production. Excessive bleeding is most common in thrombocytopenia patients due to low platelet count. As a result, blood clotting is quite difficult.
Thrombocytosis: A low MPV with a high platelet count suggests reactive thrombocytosis, which is common as inflammation, malignancy, and infection.
Other causes of low MPV: MPV-lowering drugs that attack cells such as heparin, an over-active spleen, autoimmune disorders such as leukemia, and hemolytic disorders such as anemia
A low platelet count with low MPV also indicates hypersplenism or marrow underproduction of platelets like in some hereditary platelet disorders like Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, cytotoxic drug therapy, and aplastic anemia.
Symptoms of Low MPV
There are several symptoms people with low MPV readings exhibit before going to the doctor for a test.
Some signs include bleeding from the nose or mouth, extremely long menstrual cycles, anal bleeding, and inability to stop the bleeding from a small cut or wound.
Other 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)
- Superficial bleeding into the skin that appears as a rash of pinpoint reddish-purple spots often found on the lower legs
What to Do If You Have Low MPV
When you have low MPV, it is best to consult your doctor. Depending on your lifestyle, a low mean platelet volume can be normal for you. However, when you combine your low MPV with the other results of your CBC, this can lead your doctor to do more testing to help rule out an underlying health problem.
On its own, a low MPV doesn’t mean anything about your risk of having a disease, such as cancer.
At the same time, your doctor will help you discuss the potential causes of your low mean platelet volume and a possible treatment plan. For instance, a healthy diet and a number of anti-inflammatory foods can help prevent low MPV levels. Certain foods to include in your diet include berries, garlic, tuna, turmeric, green tea, and extra virgin olive oil.
Final Thoughts on Low MPV
Low MPV counts are not easily treated as there is usually an underlying cause behind it. Depending on the readings, your doctor may decide not to prescribe a treatment.
If your MPV is low due to a drug for an autoimmune disorder, your doctor may add a drug to suppress the immune system. If low readings are due to a prescribed drug, your doctor may switch you to another one.
Patients with severely low MPV readings may receive platelet transfusions to avoid excessive bleeding.
It is imperative to be aware of your MPV readings as lower than normal counts can lead to dangerous conditions. If you are being treated for a specific disorder that directly affects your platelets, your doctor will monitor the levels. Discuss any concerns you may have about excessive bleeding and your prescribed medications with a medical professional.
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