Raising awareness of immune thrombocytopenic purpura

Corporate news

This September, the Platelet Disorder Support Association (PDSA) is raising awareness of immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a rare autoimmune disorder characterised by a decrease in the number of platelets in the blood that can result in bruising, bleeding gums and internal bleeding.1

It is unknown what causes ITP, but it is thought that an irregular immune response triggered by infections, certain immunizations, or in association with immune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or HIV, causes the body to produce antibodies that attack and destroy the platelets.1

ITP affects people of all races and ethnicities and occurs in around five out every 100,000 children every year and roughly two in 100,000 adults, becoming slightly more prevalent in older adults and in middle aged women.2

Did you know?


  • A rare autoimmune condition characterized by low platelet counts.

  • Caused by the body’s immune system destroying healthy platelets that leads to easy or excessive bruising and bleeding.

  • The incidence of adult ITP in the USA is estimated to be 3.3 per 100,000/year.1

Types of ITP

  • Newly diagnosed: ITP has been present for less than 3 months

  • Persistent: ITP present for 3-12 months

  • Chronic: ITP present for more than one year

People with ITP may experience:

  • Easy bruising.

  • Tiny reddish-purple spots on the skin, also known as petechiae.

  • Bleeding from the gums or nose.

  • Blood in urine or stools.

  • Very heavy menstrual flow.

  • In rare cases, serious bleeding into the brain.

While there is no cure for ITP, in most cases platelet counts can be improved with treatment. Treatment options include ongoing monitoring of platelet levels, medications such as steroids or intravenous immunoglobulins, and surgical removal of the spleen (splenectomy) in severe cases.1

Visit the Platelet Disorder Support Association to learn more.