Skip to content

Information and Resources

Font Size
A
A
A

Thrombocytopenia and ITP

What Is Thrombocytopenia and ITP?

If you have thrombocytopenia, you don't have enough platelets in your blood. Platelets help your blood clot, which stops bleeding.

For most people, it's not a big problem. But if you have a severe form, you can bleed too much when you're injured, or spontaneously in your eyes, gums, or bladder.

Recommended Related to

Neonatal Hemochromatosis

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Neonatal Hemochromatosis is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Read the Neonatal Hemochromatosis article > >

A healthy person usually has a platelet count of 150,000 to 400,000. You have thrombocytopenia if your number falls under 150,000.

If you're wondering what the long name means, here's how it breaks down: "thrombocytes" are your platelets and "penia" means you don't have enough of something. Put those terms together, and you get "thrombocytopenia."

Your doctor may tell you that you have a form of the condition called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). "Idiopathic" means the cause isn't known. "Purpura" refers to bruising, which is one of the symptoms.

Causes

Although doctors don't know what causes ITP, they know that it happens when your immune system -- your body's defense against disease -- doesn't work right. Your antibodies, which are supposed to attack infections, instead mistakenly destroy your blood platelets.

Thrombocytopenia can run in families, but you can also get it from some drugs and many medical conditions. For instance, your body might make fewer platelets if you have:

You could also get thrombocytopenia if you're taking chemotherapy drugs or you're getting radiation treatment on your bone marrow. Drinking a lot of alcohol can also bring on the condition.

Thrombocytopenia can also happen if your spleen is enlarged, which can trap platelets so they won't move through your body.

In other cases, your body just uses too many platelets, leaving you without enough of them. That can happen if you have an autoimmune disease, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. The same is true if you have thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), which uses a lot of platelets to make small blood clots throughout your body.

Your blood platelets can also be destroyed because of:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

sore foot
3 warning signs.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
mature woman holding fan in face
Symptoms and treatments.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
What it looks like.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms and treatment.
man behind computer screen
10 possible causes.
Woman with itchy watery eyes
Common triggers.
man screaming
Making sense of symptoms.
human liver
What puts you at risk?
restroom sign
Food and drinks that make you go.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.