What Is Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura?

What Is Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura?

Immune thrombocytopenic purpura is a condition in which the patient's immune system destroys platelets, blood cells the help the body form blood clots, according to MedlinePlus. The bleeding disorder leads to the patient not having enough platelets.

Platelets form small clots that plug holes in damaged blood vessels, MedlinePlus reports. In patients with immune thrombocytopenic purpura, the body develops antibodies that attach to platelets, and when the platelets with the antibodies reach the spleen, they are destroyed.

A variety of factors are linked to immune thrombocytopenic purpura, MedlinePlus explains. Children often contract the condition after a viral infection. In adults, the condition is often more long term and can be brought on by a viral infection, pregnancy, an immune disorder or the use of certain drugs.

Children are more likely than adults to contract immune thrombocytopenic purpura, MedlinePlus states. In adults, woman are more likely to develop the condition than men, in children, both genders are equally as likely to get immune thrombocytopenic purpura.

Symptoms include nosebleeds or bleeding in the mouth, easy bruising and abnormally heavy menstrual flow, MedlinePlus says. Patients often develop a skin rash on their shins that looks like tiny red pinpoints.

Children frequently recover without treatment, MedlinePlus states. Treatment options include taking prednisone or other medications. If medication doesn't work, doctors may consider removing the spleen.