ITP causes & risk factors

By Stacey Feintuch

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.

It’s important to recall what was happening to you or your child before having symptoms of low platelets. Sharing this information may be useful to your doctor for both diagnosing and treating ITP.

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.
Next - ITP symptoms 

ITP basics
What is ITP?
ITP causes & risk factors
ITP symptoms
ITP diagnosis
Meet your ITP healthcare team
ITP: Questions to ask your doctor


ITP features
Take control of ITP and live the life you love!
Understanding ITP
ITP symptoms and early detection
Platelet counts: know your numbers
Be prepared for an emergency with ITP


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