Global ITP Awareness Week
Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP) is the most common autoimmune bleeding disorder affecting 10 times as many people as hemophilia, yet is unknown to most. Beginning September 20th and ending on September 24th —Sport Purple for Platelets Day — ITP patient support organizations from around the world will observe the third annual Global ITP Awareness Week.
During this week, thousands of individuals and families will join together to promote public awareness of this rare disorder and share their ITP Warrior stories in their fight against ITP.
Global ITP Awareness Week will feature a social media-based photo-sharing campaign called, “Going #global4ITP”. Participants from around the world will celebrate the power of purple as they share their photographs with signs depicting their country demonstrating how widespread ITP truly is.
ITP is a condition in which the blood has a lower number of platelets than normal. Platelets are cells that help the blood clot. ITP is called an autoimmune disease since it is the result of the body's immune system attacking platelets as if they are foreign cells. A person with ITP is at a higher risk of bleeding. ITP is often accompanied by fatigue and sometimes depression and has a profound impact on a person’s quality of life.
This lack of public awareness leaves many ITP patients feeling isolated and alone, and is the main reason why there is so little support for research on ITP and the lack of advancement in treatment. ITP is a growing but little understood health problem that most people (including some medical professionals) have never heard of. It affects individuals of all ages, sexes, and ethnic origins.
The International ITP Alliance of patient support organizations from around the world play a vital role in education, awareness, and establishing a global voice for immune thrombocytopenia patients.
- An estimated 50,000 people in the US are currently living with ITP
- Incidence: 3.3/100,000 adults are diagnosed with ITP each year
- Prevalence: Approximately 9.5 current cases per 100,000 adults
What are the common symptoms of ITP?
- Easy or excessive bruising
- Bleeding from gums or nose
- Feeling tired or fatigued
How is ITP diagnosed?
The specific cause behind why ITP develops can differ from person to person. ITP has been shown to develop:
- After a viral or bacterial infection
- After certain immunizations
- In association with another illness, like lupus
What you need to know when you are newly diagnosed.
- Ask your doctor about their experience treating patients with ITP
- Discuss your doctor’s treatment philosophy, and whether they welcome patient input on their care
- Make sure you understand a treatment’s purpose, side effects, and how your doctor will measure progress
ITP in Adults
- ITP is a diagnosis of exclusion — your doctor will first rule out other causes of low platelets
- Persistent ITP lasts 6-12 months, while chronic ITP lasts over a year
- Treatments should be tailored to you, not your platelet count
ITP in Children
- ITP affects at least 3,000 children under age 16 in the US each year
- ITP often occurs in otherwise healthy children a few days or weeks after a minor viral infection
- For children and teens, full recovery is often possible
ITP in Pregnancy
- Thrombocytopenia is observed in 7-10% of all pregnancies
- Most physicians recommend a platelet count above 20,000 to 30,000 throughout pregnancy and above 50,000 near term
- IVIG or corticosteroids can be safely given to raise platelet count during pregnancy