Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura

By: Cassie Howlett


Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura is a blood clotting disorder. The immune system attacks platelets in the blood that are necessary for normal blood clotting. People with ITP do not have enough platelets and when they bleed it is very excessive.


About 1 in every 100,000 children get ITP which goes away on it's own. 1 in every 400,000 get the chronic kind. ITP is more common in girls than in boys. More adults get ITP than children.
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Why is ITP dangerous?

ITP can be super DEADLY. The immune system of someone with ITP fights the circulatory system and attacks blood platelets which are what make your blood clot. When platelet counts get too low (below 70,000, the normal is 150,000) you have a great risk of having internal bleeding or even bleeding in the brain which causes death. The life expectancy is the same for people with ITP as long as you go to the doctor regularly for a checkup to make sure you have enough platelets.
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Symptoms and Causes

There is no "cause" of ITP, hence the name "idiopathic" which means unknown cause. It is thought to possibly caused by a weak immune system which causes it to not act right and fights platelets like the platelets were a bad virus, but they aren't. Symptoms from ITP are bruises that don't go away after awhile, severe headaches, nausea and random bleeding from the mouth, nose and eyes.


there are many possible ways To treat ITP. Some cases are more serious but some are just temporary, like in children and will go away after a couple of weeks. If you aren't bleeding and you have a normal platelet count you don't need to be treated. If you are bleeding or you have a shortage in blood platelets you might need surgery or have to take medication.

What are Platelets?

There are 3 types of blood cells, red white and platelets. Platelets are what help your blood clot so you don't bleed a lot or bruise easy. They live in your blood stream and are made from bone marrow. To find a platelet count people get blood drawn, known as a blood sample.

What does "idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura" mean?

Idiopathic means unknown cause.

thrombocytopenic means low platelet count.

Purpura means purple spots on skin

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Females get ITP more commonly than males however it doesn't mean that boys can't get it. Females generally get it more but I couldn't tell you why because nobody really knows much about ITP.
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Systems affected

The systems affected by ITP are the skeletal, immune and the circulatory system. This is because platelets are formed by bone marrow, (skeletal) and get attacked by the immune system as if it was a virus. Then the blood stream is all messed up and the platelet count in the body is low

Life expectancy

If you don't have chronic ITP your life span will be the same. if you have chronic ITP your life can be shortened by up to 10 years