What is itp?
Are you tired of medical jargon that only a doctor can understand? You’re in luck! In this article, we will break down idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (commonly known as ITP) so even your grandma who still uses a flip phone can understand it.
ITP sounds like hieroglyphics – something out of an Indiana Jones movie – but don’t worry, it’s not related to alien invasions or the plot of the next Marvel movie. So grab some popcorn and get ready for an entertaining and enlightening ride!
First things first – let’s define idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. It is an autoimmune disorder where your body attacks its own platelets funny enough, our blood cells are getting confused by their cousins. Platelets are essential to clotting – think about them like tiny Lego pieces that come together when you cut yourself to stop any bleeding. But with ITP, there aren’t enough platelets in your bloodstream because they’re getting prematurely wreckedthanks immune system – not!
Now, you may be wondering how someone can develop such a condition. This brings us to our next point.
The Cause(?): Nobody Knows?!
That’s right folks; we’ve got ourselves a real mystery here! At present day doctors just can’t seem to figure out why it happens(get back into those labs people!). Nevertheless,is mostly seen after viral infections (like flu), pregnancy(oh no!), certain drugs and vaccines(even kryptonite isn’t safe). However,it sometimes occurs on its own(#rebelbloodcells).
We hear more questions coming from the audience again- “Ok then Mr./Mrs.Mister Assistant what happens now?”
Symptoms: Bruises To Unexplained Bleeding
The symptoms are as scary as a clown in a horror movie. People with ITP usually get bruises randomly and easily(remember no one should also take iron deficiency lightly unless they aspire to be Batman villainess Poison Ivy). Sometimes you can even see circular, patchy bruises on your skin – which medicos call “purpura” (hence the name), more than 20 mm in diameter-small ones have nothing to do with it phew. You may also notice small red dots that resemble rash or pinpoint bleeding beneath your skin(a game of connect-the-dots-gone-wrong) – those are called petechiae.
If platelet level has significantly dropped- dangerous effects like prolonged bleeding after something minor(micro cannula piercing, paper cut etc) suggesting body is now at riskduring blood/platelets transfusions(your human contingency plan arrives).
Diagnosis: A Whooping List
Your exhausted platelets’ last resort could be reaching out for some professional support(the white coats!). There isn’t just one test but rather various tests available for discovering if you really have ITP or not:
- Physical Exam & Medical History
- Personal/Family history regarding autoimmune disorders?
- It’s key players time…
Time mentioned above except :
1.Complete Blood Count(CBC):
Measure amount of components(cells) present in blood(red cells include our oxygen bag; such classification only found outside libraries). Among them:
⋅ Platelet(poor guys…) count;
Normal range = 150000–450000/mm³.
If we observe less than normal amounts? Well, hello there ITP! In addition to CBC,
2.Platelet Antibody Test(PAT)
Our immune system shows its true colours since thanks to it,this automimmune disorder occurred.Having antibody test will show us whether antibodies responsible for attacking platelets are present or not.
3.Bone Marrow Exam
Reach deeper level to see if this issue is coming from bone marrow. Platelet production might be disrupted and abnormal-looking ones might be observed in exam.
Treatment: See Ya, ITP!
The treatment varies depending on the severity of the symptoms & patient’s age(elderly people prefer it having less drama). Often a “wait and watch” strategy is taken,hitting snooze on life threatening alarmswhereby patients do nothing but keep an eye out for any sudden changes (nope nothing creepy about that). For those with more advanced cases,(Enter Mr.Drugs-2-be-honest) medication will likely be prescribed to return blood counts back to its normal range:
- Prednisone(Dora’s secret adventure)
It inhibits immune system (our rebel here) hence blocking approval process towards platelates’ exit gate
- IVIG Bag Normalizer(Spiderman who?)
Immune globulin purified from many plasma doses transfused directly into veins.Well..the low numbers get scared seeing how much there are now.
- RhoGAM(What’s Buzz sayin bro ?)
Most popular among expectant mothers given within certain timeframe,using Rh-positive fetal antigens so mother’s white cells don’t start attacking(the phrase “doctor knows best” resurrects).
For some unfortunate souls that aren’t getting adequate results through medications, other haphazard treatments may very well turn up:
- Splenectomy(Make A Wish Caterpillar…)
Removal of spleen which can serve as hideout point for reining antibodies targeting poor old platelets.(a home alone style splatter success movie maybe)
With all these ravaging symptoms going around us – what does the future hold?
Recently, it’s been discovered that certain food and supplements can boost the platelet count making our rebel generals to feel less bare-bones. Some researches suggest consuming green leafy vegetables(grandma’s number one advice), fresh fruits, nuts and lean meats along with melatonin(can also reduce stress levels) as great oxygen pumps(basically helps giving out more energy).
Another promising point in recent times is use of interleukin-11(also known as;Neumega or Oprelvekin). This medication pushes bone marrow to produce new platelets, pioneering a difference outside the use of steroids(more effective at least for people who don’t want to grow muscles like Hulk anyway)
Lastly,you can always reach out major support groups(helping seeing things from a different perspective) providing moral assistance during course.
Remember,the most important reminder ? Don’t neglect your health – even if you’re feeling completely fine – there are lots of hidden entities inside your body that only show up when they’ve started doing damage (our funny little fatigued blood cells anyways). Drink enough water too !
We hope we have successfully enlightened moments explaining everything about ITP(without dozing off or forming trust issues against doctors)-a disorder where the immune system damages our own blood clotting making them primarily protest against going quietly minding their own business.All in all ?Wearing masks may soon very well become mandatory not just because viruses roam around-but due to some undercover rogue cell behaviour(“someone-call-the-exorcist” kind-of-moments ahead indeed).