ITP Causes & Risk Factors
ITP, or idiopathic thrombocytopenia, is an autoimmune disease in which the body destroys platelets, cells that help blood clot. Nobody knows for sure why the immune system suddenly starts attacking these cells, but some cases appear after a viral or bacterial infection, immunizations, exposure to a medication or in association with another illnesses, such as lupus or HIV.
Common ITP risk factors include:
- Genetics. Having close relatives who have also been diagnosed with ITP can sometimes increase the risk.
- Age. ITP can strike anyone at any age but is more common in people age 60 and older.
- Receiving certain vaccines. Although very rare, some vaccinations can “trigger” ITP.
- Viral infections. Sometimes, after a bout with the mumps, measles or other viruses, children can get ITP. But don’t panic—it is usually an acute form of the disease that tends to go into remission within a year.