Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura ( ITP )

What is Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura ( ITP )?

Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys its own platelets, the small blood cells that are essential for blood clotting. As a result, people with ITP tend to experience frequent and potentially life-threatening bleeding problems. The cause of ITP is not well understood, but it is thought to be related to antibodies that are produced by the immune system against platelets.

Symptoms of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura ( ITP )

The most common symptom of ITP is excessive bleeding, which can occur in the nose, gums, or even on the skin in the form of small, red dots called petechiae. Other symptoms of ITP can include fatigue, easy bruising, and enlarged lymph nodes.

Diagnosis of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura ( ITP )

ITP is diagnosed with a complete blood count that measures the levels of platelets in the body. Other tests may include a bone marrow biopsy, which can determine if the bone marrow is producing adequate levels of platelets, and genetic testing, which can reveal whether certain mutations are present that are associated with ITP.

Treatment of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura ( ITP )

The primary treatment for ITP is a drug called an IVIG or immunoglobulin, which helps boost the body’s platelet production. Other treatments can include steroids, intravenous anti-D, or monoclonal antibodies such as rituximab. In cases where drugs are not effective, a splenectomy (surgical removal of the spleen) may be recommended to help reduce the body’s immune response against the platelets.

Living with Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura ( ITP )

It is important to work with your healthcare team to get the best possible treatment for ITP. It is also essential to be mindful of potential bleeding risks and take extra precautions. These may include avoiding contact sports, avoiding medications or supplements that may interfere with platelet production, and using caution with activities that may cause cuts or scrapes.

  • Avoid contact sports
  • Avoid medications or supplements that may interfere with platelet production
  • Use caution with activities that may cause cuts or scrapes
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, such as sources of iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and folate
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get adequate rest
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage stress