Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP)
Thrombocytes are platelets, which are small cells that circulate in your bloodstream and help blood clot. "-Penia" means too few. So thrombocytopenia is having too few platelets in your blood.
Immune thrombocytopenia is when you have too few platelets because your own immune system destroyed them.
With too few platelets, you bleed easily
You may have tiny purple spots on your skin and get nosebleeds and bleeding gums
Doctors diagnose ITP with blood tests
In children, ITP usually goes away on its own
Adults with ITP may get corticosteroids or other medicines to slow down their immune system
If you're an adult and medicines don't work, doctors may take out your spleen
Symptoms of ITP can develop suddenly or slowly. You may have:
You're more likely to bleed the lower your platelet count drops. People who have very few platelets may bleed heavily from their intestines or have life-threatening bleeding in their brain.
Doctors treat ITP with:
If you have life-threatening bleeding, doctors may give you a platelet transfusion. Platelet transfusions don't usually work well because the antibodies in your blood attack the transfused platelets too.
Removing the spleen can help keep more platelets circulating in the blood.
In adults, ITP is usually long-lasting, but in children it often gets better on its own.