Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

How Can Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) Be Prevented?

You can't prevent idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), but you can prevent its complications.

  • Talk to your doctor about which medicines you can take. Your doctor may advise you to avoid medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen that can affect your platelets and increase your risk of bleeding.
  • Protect yourself from injuries that can cause bruising or bleeding.
  • Seek treatment right away if you develop any infections. Report any symptoms of infection, such as a fever, to your doctor. This is very important for people with ITP who have had their spleens removed.

Living with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

If you have idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), you can take steps to prevent complications. Lifestyle changes and ongoing care can help you manage the condition.

Lifestyle Changes

If you have ITP, try to avoid injuries, especially head injuries, that can cause bleeding in the brain. For example, don't participate in contact sports such as boxing, football, or karate. Other sports, such as skiing or horseback riding, also put you at risk for injuries that can cause bleeding.

Some safe activities are swimming and walking. Ask your doctor about physical activities that are safe for you.

Take precautions such as regular use of seatbelts and wearing gloves when working with knives and other tools.

If your child has ITP, ask his or her doctor whether you need to restrict your child's activities.

Ongoing Care

Find a doctor, preferably a hematologist, who is familiar with treating people who have ITP. Hematologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating blood diseases and disorders. Discuss with your doctor how to manage ITP and when to seek medical care.

Talk to your doctor before taking prescription and over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements. Some medicines and supplements can affect platelets and increase your chance of bleeding. Common examples are aspirin or ibuprofen.

Tell your doctor about all of the over-the-counter medicines you take, including vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies. These products may contain substances that increase your risk of bleeding.

Watch for symptoms of infection, such as a fever, and report them to your doctor promptly. If you've had your spleen removed, you may be more likely to become ill from certain types of infection.

Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura in Pregnancy

In women who are pregnant and have ITP, the ITP usually doesn't affect the baby. However, some babies born to mothers who have ITP are born with or develop low numbers of platelets soon after birth.

Their platelet counts almost always return to normal without any treatment. Treatment can speed the recovery in the very few babies whose platelet counts remain very low.

Treatment for ITP during pregnancy depends on a woman's platelet count. If treatment is needed, the doctor will take a close look at the possible effects of the treatment on the unborn baby.

Women who have milder cases of ITP usually can go through pregnancy without treatment. Pregnant women who have very low platelet counts or a lot of bleeding are more likely to have serious heavy bleeding during delivery or afterward. To prevent serious bleeding, these women usually are treated.

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