Some diseases are a mystery. If the name of the disorder starts with “idiopathic,” it means that no one really knows what causes it.
That’s the case with a rare condition called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), which can lead to easy or excessive bruising and bleeding. The bleeding results from unusually low levels of platelets — the cells that help blood clot.
According to the Mayo Clinic, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura affects children and adults. Children often develop ITP after a viral infection and usually recover fully without treatment. In adults, the disorder is often long term. It causes extreme bruising (purpura) and superficial bleeding.
But what causes this mysterious disease? One prevalent explanation is that ITP is an immune response being confused between its own cells and invading virus and bacteria.
Another theory, according to the Platelet Disorder Support Association (PDSA) is “that the DNA in our cells can be altered by reactive substances in our bodies. When the changed DNA is a part of the immune control function, it can result in a specific autoimmune disease.” Immune system defects and intestinal changes are two other potential reasons why this rare condition exists.
Although why ITP occurs is still without explanation and there is no cure, there are ways to treat the symptoms.
In September, PDSA and other ITP support groups around the globe hope to raise awareness as a way to support all those who suffer with this condition. On Sport Purple for Platelets Day (Sept. 29), you can help.
Download the Sport Purple logo onto the profile page of your social media channels and connections to spread the word.
Raise funds for research by collecting Pennies for Platelets, or other activities.
Don purple or other Purple for Platelets products from PSDA’s online store.
Remember, raising awareness is the number one way to take the mystery out of this rare disease!