Immune thrombocytopenia or ITP is an autoimmune disease where the person’s own body attacks the platelets and it results in unable to clot the blood and it can lead to a lot of bleeding issues. This condition affects ten times more people than hemophilia but is relatively unknown to most it affects children and also teens. In children, it is typically more of an acute disease where is in older people or adults it is more of chronic disease and it can be lifelong.
People who are suffering from this condition notices all over their body on both sides and it affects mostly legs. People with ITP faced a lot of challenges as it is difficult to get a proper diagnosis and then one of the biggest challenges is finding a physician who treats a lot of Immune thrombocytopenia patients. There are very few experts in the world who are actually in treating this condition and who understand all of the treatments.
ITP is considered as much as an emotional disease as it is a physical disease. There is a lot fatigue associated with this condition and quality of life is impacted. It will be a big challenge to the people who are suffering from this condition both emotionally and physically especially in the beginning. It is really important for the people who are suffering from this condition to consult a health professional.
What are the indicators of this condition?
The most common symptom associated with ITP is going to be excessive bruising. Idiopathic thrombocytopenia is the other name of this condition. It is really important for the person to know the symptoms of this condition because detecting the early signs and symptoms of this condition and talk with your physician about what’s going on and they can review with you about your family history and help you to determine what options are best for you.
Small red bumps on the skin, excessive bruises, blood in urine, heavy menstrual flow, bleeding from the gums, frequent nosebleeds, blood in the stools, small lumps underneath the skin, and excessive fatigue or low levels of energy are considered as the symptoms of this condition.
What are the types of ITP?
As per health professionals, this condition is categorized into two types. These types include
- Acute (Short-term)
- Chronic (long-term)
When a child is affected by this condition, then it is known as Acute Immune thrombocytopenia. Children may suffer from this condition for 5 – 6 months. It is also considered a common disorder in children who are below the age of fourteen years.
When this condition is affected by adults or older people, then it is called as chronic Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). When older guys are affected by this condition, then it can life-threatening or it can be lifelong.
When to Consult a Physician
When a person is suffering from the symptoms of ITP, then it is advised to consult a physician about what’s going on inside of your body and they can review with you about your family history and help you to determine what options are best for you. If the affected person is experiencing heavy bleeding, then he or she must seek medical attention otherwise the disease may get worse. After that, it will be a big challenge to the people who are suffering from this condition both emotionally and physically especially in the beginning.
What are the causes of this condition?
There can be a variety of causes that can include and this is very important to keep in mind. When the platelets in your body are attacked by your immune system mistakenly is considered as the main cause of this problem. Platelets are the cell fragments that can help blood clot. Sometimes, people’s underlying health conditions may contribute to this autoimmune disorder. Those conditions include
- Hepatitis or H. pylori
- Human Immunodeficiency virus
- Stomach ulcers
People suffer from this condition due to viral illnesses. These viral illnesses include
The chances of getting diagnosed with this condition are more as people grow older as the normal people’s immune system weakens as they age and it will lose its capacity to fight the disease. It is not a contagious disease and this is very important to keep in mind. If there is any type of bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers also contribute to this condition.
What are the risk factors of ITP?
Women who are young are more likely to develop this condition. This condition is considered as much as an emotional disease as it is a physical disease and it can have a negative impact on your life. A person who has the following underlying health conditions have a higher risk of getting diagnosed with Immune thrombocytopenia and they should take extra measures and precautions to get not diagnosed with this condition. These underlying medical conditions include
- rheumatoid arthritis
- antiphospholipid syndrome
It is really important for the people who have the above health conditions and experiencing the symptoms of ITP should seek medical attention immediately or consult a health professional.
What are the complications of this autoimmune disease?
The most common complication associated with ITP is going to be excessive bleeding. People who have undergone the treatment of this disease may experience some serious complications in their life. Corticosteroids can be used in the treatment of ITP.
Loss of bone, diabetes, cataracts, loss of muscle mass, and an increased risk of infection is considered as the possible side effects with the overuse or long-term corticosteroids. As the spleen is removed from the body permanently through surgery can increase the risk of getting diagnosed by bacterial infections and the condition will become serious if the person is affected by any type of infection. Due to this reason, it is really important for the people who have taken treatment and experiencing any side effects should discuss with their physician. A discussion with the health care provider may help determine which option would be best for the person.
How to diagnose this condition?
In order to diagnose this autoimmune disease, your physician may perform a physical examination of your body and ask you questions related to the symptoms the person is experiencing. Your doctor may also review your medical history and the medications you have taken previously.
After performing a physical examination, your healthcare provider may recommend a blood test to check the platelet count in your body. This test is used to know the count of platelets and if the platelet count is low then the affected person may need to admit in the hospital and the physician will keep the patient in observation for four to five days.
What are the various treatment options available for Immune thrombocytopenia or ITP?
There are treatments for this condition which can include lifestyle alternations, surgery, and prescription medications. People with mild symptoms of this condition are don’t need to go for a surgery, but regular observation and keeping an eye on platelet count is enough for them. Let’s discuss the treatment options in detail.
Your healthcare provider may recommend the person who is suffering from ITP to use some medications to improve the function and count of platelets. The following are the medications are used in the treatment of ITP. These medications include
- Immune Globulin
- Drugs to boost platelet production
- Other drugs
Your physician may recommend an oral corticosteroid to increase the platelet count. Prednisone is one of the examples of Corticosteroids. Using these drugs on a long-term basis may not good for you and it can lead to increases in your chances of getting diagnosed with the following conditions. These includes
- High blood sugar
If the medications don’t work on your body or unable to increase the platelets count then your physician may inject the immune globulin into your arms through your veins.
Drugs that boost platelet production
There are a variety of medications available to boost platelet production. The following are the medications that can boost or increase the platelet count. These medications include
- Romiplostim (Nplate)
- Eltrombopag (Promacta)
With the help of the above drugs, the bone marrow can produce more platelets but these drugs will higher your chances of blood clots.
There are some medications that can work by reducing the immune system response which is attacking the platelets. Rituxan and truxima are examples of these drugs.
If there is no improvement in the patient’s condition even after taking the medications or the condition is severe, then the healthcare provider may perform surgery to remove the spleen in the person who is suffering from ITP, and this procedure is known as splenectomy. After the surgery, it will take two to three days to become normal for the patient and improves the platelet count as the surgeon removes the main source of platelet destruction in the body through surgery.
It is really for the people who are suffering from this condition should make some lifestyle changes like stop drinking alcohol, and also shouldn’t participate in sporting activities as it may lead to bleeding. There are a variety of medications that can negatively impact the quality of life and also most importantly affect platelet function. The following are the medications that a person with ITP should avoid. These medications include
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
This condition is not serious or life-threatening. Some people live with this disease for decades by keeping this mind, it is really important for the people who are experiencing the symptoms of this condition should talk with your physician about what’s going on and they can review with you about your family history and help you to determine what options are best for you otherwise things will go back to how they were.