What Are the Signs and Symptoms of ITP?


Quick Answer

Signs and symptoms of ITP include bruising, purple areas or pinhead-sized red spots on the skin; lumps on the skin caused by clots; nose or gum bleeding; and blood in the urine or stool, according to Cleveland Clinic. In some cases, ITP may never cause any symptoms.

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Full Answer

ITP, or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, is a bleeding disorder characterized by an excessively low level of blood cells, notes WebMD. The condition, known as thrombocytopenia, prevents the blood from clotting as it should.

Although the precise cause of ITP is unknown, it is generally understood that people with the condition have immune systems that do not function correctly, resulting in antibodies treating blood platelets as foreign objects and attacking them, explains Mayo Clinic. The resulting destruction of the cells results in lower blood platelet levels, which increases the chance of bleeding. Patients with ITP tend to have platelet counts below 20,000 platelets per microliter, whereas normal platelet levels are higher than 150,000.

Treatment of ITP depends on the scope and severity of the condition, but treatment generally involves keeping platelet counts at normal levels and preventing bleeding-related complications, says WebMD. Children often fight off complications without any treatment, usually within six months. Adults may only require platelet checks and regular checks. When more intensive treatment is necessary, medications such as corticosteroids, intravenous immune globulin, thrombopoietin receptor agonists and biologic therapy are effective. In the most severe cases, a splenectomy may be required.

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