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September is ITP Awareness Month

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September is ITP Awareness Month

Together with the Platelet Disorder Support Association, the CCMG CoDmplex and Internal Medicine Clinic takes the month of September to focus on ITP awareness.

So what exactly is ITP? The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explains:

Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a type of platelet disorder. In ITP, your blood does not clot as it should, because you have a low platelet count. Platelets are tiny blood cells that are made in the bone marrow. When you are injured, platelets stick together to form a plug that seals your wound. This plug is called a blood clot. When you have a low platelet count, you may have trouble stopping bleeding.

ITP can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Acute ITP often lasts less than 6 months. It mainly occurs in children — both boys and girls — and is the most common type of ITP. Chronic ITP lasts 6 months or longer and mostly affects adults. However, some teens and children do get this type of ITP. Chronic ITP affects women two to three times more often than it affects men.

What are the symptoms?

ITP may not cause any symptoms. However, ITP can cause bleeding that is hard to stop. This bleeding can be inside your body, underneath your skin, or from your skin.

Signs of bleeding may include:

  • Petechiae, which are small, flat red spots under the skin caused by blood leaking from blood vessels

  • Purpura, which is bleeding in your skin that can cause red, purple, or brownish- yellow spots

  • Clotted or partially clotted blood under your skin (called a hematoma) that looks or feels like a lump

  • Nosebleeds or bleeding from your gums

  • Blood in your urine or stool

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

  • Extreme tiredness

What causes ITP?

ITP is caused by problems with your immune system. Normally, your immune system helps your body fight off infections and diseases. In ITP, however, your immune system attacks and destroys your body’s platelets by mistake. You may also make fewer platelets. Why this happens is not known.

Some things that can raise your risk of ITP include:

  • Antibiotics, antiviral medicines, or medicines to treat inflammation

  • Viral or bacterial infections, which can trigger your immune system to start destroying your platelets

  • Vaccines, such as the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which, rarely, can raise the risk of ITP, especially in children

ITP Detection and Treatment

Your CCH provider may order one or more of the following blood tests to detect ITP:

  • Complete blood count (CBC): This test measures your platelet count and the number of other blood cells in your blood.

  • Blood smear: For this test, some of your blood is put on a slide. A microscope is used to look at your platelets.

  • Bone marrow tests: These tests check whether your bone marrow is healthy. You may need this test to confirm that you have ITP and not another platelet disorder, especially if your treatment is not working.

Once your diagnosis is confirmed, ITP can be treated with medicine, the removal of your spleen, or with platelet transfusions.

Do you or a loved one suffer from ITP? Do you suspect you may suffer from this condition? Give the Complex & Internal Medicine Clinic a call at 307-688-3535.

Learn more about ITP Awareness Month and hot to get involved on the Platelet Disorder Support Association Website.

Article Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP)
  • Category: Campbell County Medical Group Complex and Internal Medicine