ITP is a blood disorder that causes a decrease in the number of platelets in the blood. Platelets help stop bleeding. So, a decrease in platelets can result in easy bruising, bleeding gums, and bleeding inside the body. The lower the platelet count, the greater the risk of bleeding.
ITP may be acute or chronic:
In most cases, the cause of ITP in children is unknown. Known causes include:
The symptoms of ITP are related to increased bleeding. Some children have very mild symptoms or none at all. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of ITP may look like other medical problems. Always check with your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
Your child's healthcare provider will ask questions about your child's medical history and do a physical exam. Other tests may include:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Your child's provider will likely refer you to a hematologist, an expert in blood disorders. Not all children with ITP require treatment. Some children recover without treatment. Blood tests and protection from bleeding may be all that is needed.
When treatment is needed, the two most common forms of treatment are steroids and immune globulin:
Other treatments for ITP may include:
Complications of ITP in children include:
To prevent bleeding consider the following:
Talk with your child's provider about other ways to prevent injuries.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider: