Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) Warning Signs

Immune thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP, is an immune disorder in which the blood doesn’t clot normally. Formerly referred to as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, ITP can cause excessive bleeding and bruising. The condition is a result of an unusually low platelet levels, also known as thrombocytes, in the blood. Platelets are formed in the bone marrow and help stop bleeding by clumping together to form a clot that will seal the cut or small tear. Without enough platelets the blood is slow to clot.

As with any medical condition, it’s important to recognize immune thrombocytopenia’s early warning signs. Warning signs can include:

1. Reddish dots on the skin

Petechiae is a skin condition associated with ITP. It appears as tiny reddish or purplish bumps on the skin and often resembles a rash. It is caused by minor bleeding underneath the skin’s surface. If you notice any weird rash or bumps on you skin, consult with your doctor immediately. 

2. Unexplained bruises

Bruises result from broken blood vessels underneath the surface of the skin. The blood escapes these broken vessels and forms a pool which creates bruising. They are normally not a cause for concern, but if you notice that you are bruising easily and more often than before, without being hurt, then it could be an early sign of ITP. The low levels of platelets can create an inability of blood to clot, even after a minor injury. Bruises from ITP are referred to as purpura and they are usually purple in color. 

3. Bleeding

ITP can cause bleeding in many parts of the body, including the mouth and gums. It can occur during routine dental work, such as teeth cleaning, and it can be easy to think it might be from gingivitis rather than ITP. Frequent nosebleeds, such as those that occur at least once a week, is a relatively common indicator of ITP. Not only that, but for women, ITP can cause heavier than normal menstrual cycles. Heavy periods are more than a nuisance, they can lead to health complications like anemia. Low platelet count has also been known to cause bleeding in urine and stools. Blood in the stool is never normal and should be followed up with a doctor because it could be a sign of ITP. 

4. Excessive fatigue

Oxygen is transported through the body by way of red blood cells, helping the organs and tissues function properly. After you have bled, the body needs time to replace the blood and it can make people with ITP feel overly fatigued. Excessive fatigue has symptoms that include requiring daytime naps, needing more sleep than usual, feeling tired after getting a good night’s rest, and an overall lack of energy for your daily activities. If you have any of these signs or symptoms, see you doctor as soon as possible.