Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura or ITP blood disease is a condition where the platelet count is lower than normal. This happens because the immune system attacks and destroys platelets. ITP is also known as immune thrombocytopenic purpura.
If You Already Know ITP blood disease then skip to the bottom. There you will find an alternative treatment theory and links to the options and dietary considerations. We have tried to make this as comprehensive as possible. There are numerous things you will not find on other sites.
What is ITP Blood Disease
Platelets are also called thrombocytes. Platelets are disk shaped cells with out a nucleus. They are made in the bone marrow along with other blood cells and circulate with the blood. Clotting (the platelets sticking together) is the process that they preform to stop the bleeding.
Idiopathic (Idio short for idiot and pathic read path way) means all the smart people in the world just do not know what the cause is.
Thrombocytopenic means there are less platelets in the blood than there should be.
Purpura (sounds like purple) is the telltale of purple bruises caused by bleeding under the skin.
People who have ITP have otherwise normal blood cells. It is just the platelets that are in short supply. The result is that the blood does not clot as it should.
New cases of ITP are at 50-100 per million. About half of new cases are in children.
The normal platelet count is a range between 150,000-400,000 per mm3. Tpically, ITP patients have counts as low or lower than 20,000.
In 15 to 30 percent of those with what appears to look like thrombocytopenia do not have it. They may have pseudothrombocytopenia.
There are two types of ITP blood disease
One type of ITP affects children between ages 2-4 years of age and the other affects adults. Most often women are diagnosed but it can happen to anyone.
Signs and Symptoms
ITP often results in purple bruises on the skin or mucous membranes in the mouth.
The bruises come from small blood vessels under the skin. Sometimes the bleeding results in petechiae (tiny red or purple dots on the skin). This may look like a rash.
With a shortage of platelets, the resulting will be bruising and potential for bleeding. ITP is a major risk in the event of an injury. The signs and symptoms are also important to help with the diagnosis.
Something as simple as a nose bleed may be very difficult to stop in someone who has ITP.
Some drugs can bring on ITP as can infections, leukemia or when the body uses up its platelet supply.
Other Symptoms of ITP Blood Disease
small cuts or minor wounds take a very long time to stop bleeding
unexplained bleeding from the nose or gums
blood in the urine or stools
unusually heavy menstrual flow in women
Causes of ITP Blood Disease
The cause of ITP is unknown. ITP results in the formation of antibodies that destroy their blood platelets. Antibodies usually attack bacteria and viruses. In ITP the same antibodies attack the platelets.
Some medications can cause ITP as a side effect or can deplete platelets....
Medicines that can cause low platelet counts include some antibiotics, thiazide diuretics, chemotherapy medicines, quinidine, and meprobamate (Equanil, Miltown, Meprospan).
An enlarged spleen can cause a low platelet count.
The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine has been known to produce an illness that clinically appears to be acute ITP in children. It starts within 6 weeks from the vaccination.
Gold injections in 1% to 3% of those who receive them may result in ITP. This will usually happen within 20 weeks of the administration. It is likewise associated with the oral preparations. It can persist for several weeks and even months.
Diagnosis of ITP Blood Disease
The diagnosis is made by a doctor who will take a history and doing a physical exam.
Your doctor may also order a blood test.
How is ITP Treated
Treatment involves increasing the blood platelet count. The treatment of choice is often prednisone to raise platelet count.
The prednisone will be decreased gradually as the count rises. Once stopping the steroid, the platelet count may drop again.
Also intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is given or a combination of medications is used.
Another treatment is removing the spleen. The spleen is the organ that produces most of the antibodies that destroy the blood platelets.
The spleen also destroys the old and damaged blood cells. The spleen can be removed laparoscopically.
Medicines that decrease platelet counts such as over the counter medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen. Also alcohol consumption should be limited.
Another Way, A Better Way
If you are on steroids, you should not go off them cold turkey without the risk of severe outcomes. Do not make any changes with out talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
Studies as far back as 2002 indicate that oxidative damage is involved in the development of ITP. The platelet destruction and bleeding is believed to be part of the elevation of lipid peroxidation and the reduction of antioxidant capacity.
In the book, The Autoimmune Epidemic, by Donna Jackson Nakazawa there is a suggestion for the cause of the epidemic. Her search for answers were based on her trying find answers for her own autoimmune disease.
Donna suggest that environmental toxins are, in part, perpetuating the autoimmune epidemic.
Note Some doctors will say that these toxins do not cause ITP. The fact is, nobody knows for sure. So if they do not know what causes it, how can it be said that it is not caused by these toxins.
The logic is simple. Foreign compounds that create a chain reaction. The body tries to rid itself of foreign substances. Especially those that are toxic. What happens when the toxin is attached to, lets say a platelet. In the bodies attempt to do what it does, a reaction against the self happens. If this is true, it provides an interesting theory on how to treat ITP.
First, consider how many toxins are in the human body to begin with. More specifically, which toxins are in your body?
In July 2005, it was reported that an average of 148 different chemicals in our bodies. These are chemicals that do not belong in our body. This report was not comprehensive. They just looked for and found the 148 chemicals. There are no-doubt more.
And what about the toxins, chemicals and poisons that may be in our foods? Lets not leave out chemicals like cleaning products, pest control substances, and off gassing of various synthetic materials as they age.
Many have found positive results with boosting intercellular glutathione to deal with many auto-immune diseases.
There is little information specifically on boosting glutathione in the treatment of ITP. There is evidence that ITP results in oxidative stress.
ITP Blood Disease and Glutathione
To enhance current treatment, avoid toxic foods. Avoid toxins in your home as best you can.
Also, improve your dietary intake of foods that will boost your intercellular glutathione. This is the bodies main antioxidant. It will help with the detoxification of the toxins that are in your body.
Finally, you can take supplements that will boost your glutathione. There are two different ones that have been shown to improve glutathione levels.
It is really that simple.
ITP blood disease can be scary. Hopefully this will empower you to do all you can. It can be added to the treatment the doctors are providing or if you are at risk, to follow as a preventative measure.
There is evidence that supports the use of N-acetylcysteine Here is more info on it and Where to Get It
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