Immune Thrombocytopenia

Immune Thrombocytopenia: a life threatening disorder

Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a life threatening disorder which affects the platelet count of the body. Platelets are vital for stopping bleeding. Thus, ITP causes severe bleeding episodes which can at times be dangerous. It affects people of all age groups and gender but is commonly seen in women. It can last for months, or even years. Some of the common symptoms are dark red bruises, prolonged bleeding from minor injuries, nosebleeds, red spots on skin, heavy periods and enlarged lymph nodes in neck and armpit.

Causes of the disorder include autoimmunity, cancer, infection and certain medicines. In autoimmunity, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the platelets. Surgery to remove a spssen or reduce the amount of antibodies present is done in some cases. Treatment varies from person to person and is based on the cause and severity of the disorder. Platelet transfusion, steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, and splenectomy may be recommended.

It is important to take precautions and maintain a good platelet count. Hence, the following are some recommendations:

  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet, including foods that are rich in vitamin B12.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Ask your doctor before taking any medication to check for its interference with platelets.
  • Avoid contact sports as even a small injury can lead to a critical bleed.
  • Pay attention to any minor cuts and bruises and consult your doctor immediately.

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above or you are at risk for ITP, it is advised to consult a doctor immediately to get a proper diagnosis and timely management.