Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP)/Autoimmune thrombocytopenia purpura


Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), also known as autoimmune thrombocytopenia purpura, involves low levels of cells that help with blood clotting, resulting in significant bruising or bleeding. This can be chronic in adults, but full recoveries can typically be expected for children.

Common Symptoms

Easy or excessive bruising, particularly from the gums or nose, superficial bleeding into the skin on the lower legs (appears as petechiae – pinpoint, round spots that appear on the skin), blood in urine, stools, or vomit, unusually heavy menstrual flow, purple bruises, and frequent nosebleeds.

Coexisting Diseases and Conditions

Systemic lupus erythematosus, hepatitis C, type 1 diabetes, renal failure, lymphoma, and leukemia.

Risk Factors and Prevalence

ITP is two to three times more common in females than in males, occurring more often in younger females. Sometimes the reason that ITP develops is unknown, but some of the conditions that may be triggers are infections (such as HIV, hepatitis, mumps, or flu), medications that cause an allergy that cross-reacts with platelets, pregnancy, autoimmune diseases (such as SLE or rheumatoid arthritis, or antiphospholipid syndrome), and low-grade lymphomas and leukemias.


  1. Article Sources
    1. The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System. (n.d.). Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura. Johns Hopkins Medicine.  

    2. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021, February 25). Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Mayo Clinic.,cells%20that%20help%20blood%20clot.  

    3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Immune Thrombocytopenia. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.