TTP, or thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, is a disorder which causes the formation of blood clots in blood vessels, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The clots, which develop in small vessels anywhere in the body, can reduce blood flow to body organs, and the clotting process uses up blood platelets. TTP can also cause the breaking apart of red blood cells.
The reduction of blood flow to body organs can result in serious health issues, notes the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Issues with bleeding are more likely when fewer blood platelets are available, a situation engendered by the clotting process found in TTP. Bleeding may occur inside the body, beneath the skin or from the skin's surface. TTP may also cause bleeding to continue for longer than is normal. When red blood cells are broken apart faster than they can be replaced by the body, hemolytic anemia can result.
Symptoms of anemia include tiredness, feeling weak, possible dizziness, headaches and shortness of breath, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Of the two types of TTP, acquired and inherited, acquired is the more common. It affects mostly adults, but can also be seen in children. TTP, which is rare, must be treated immediately to avoid complications, such as a stroke or brain damage. The disease can also be fatal.