Finding out you have ITP can be shocking and confusing, changing your life over night. You may have never heard of the disease, and learning how the autoimmune condition can trigger excessive bruising and spontaneous episodes of bleeding that fuels ongoing fatigue and anxiety can be overwhelming.
Although a diagnosis of ITP is rare, you’re not alone. In fact, an estimated 50,000 people in the U.S. are currently living with and successfully managing the condition.
How many adults are affected?
It’s hard to determine how many adults have ITP. A recent study reports the incidence of adult ITP, or how many people are diagnosed each year, is 3.3 per 100,000 adults per year.1 The prevalence of ITP in adults—those who have ITP at any time—is approximately 9.5 cases per 100,000.
ITP can strike at any age and affects more women than men ages 30 to 60. Yet, research shows men are equally affected in other age groups.2
How do I know I have ITP?
ITP is difficult to diagnose, and is often called a “diagnosis of exclusion.” Because there is no definitive test to diagnose ITP, your doctor will first rule out other causes of low platelets, such as underlying illness or medications you may be taking. If no other cause is found, and after a complete medical history, physical exam and tests are completed, the diagnosis is often ITP.
How long does ITP last?
In adults, most cases of ITP are either persistent (lasting six to 12 months) or chronic (lasting more than a year). Fortunately, today’s treatments are able to increase your platelet count and restore your overall health. Yet, the right treatment may take time to find. By being patient and working with your doctor and healthcare team, you can start a successful routine to manage your condition.
How is ITP treated in Adults?
There is no one best way to treat ITP. Treatments should be tailored to you, not your platelet count. If you’re experiencing only mild bruising and petechiae (small red or purple dots), your doctor may want to only observe you for a while. If your symptoms are more severe, he or she may recommend prompt treatment to raise your platelet counts.
It’s important both you and your doctor carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits when making a treatment decision. Like any condition, communication is the key to successful treatment.
In addition to learning more about ITP treatments and the latest treatment guidelines, you can gain important guidance on health insurance and assistance programs for ITP patients in the United States and drug coverage in Canada.
At PDSA, we know that strong social and emotional support is a powerful tool for those living with ITP. We’re dedicated to providing resources to educate and empower you, ease your anxiety and improve your overall health.
Register to Elevate Research for Answers
Learning more about PDSA’s ITP Natural History Study Registry is an important first step in helping advance ITP research. The next best step? Enrolling in PDSA’s national patient registry to advance the science needed to improve the quality of life for ITP patients.
 Terrell DR, et al. "The incidence of immune thrombocytopenic purpura in children and adults: A critical review of published reports." Am J Hematol. 2010 Mar;85(3):174-80. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20131303
 Segal JB, Powe NR. "Prevalence of immune thrombocytopenia: analyses of administrative data." J Thromb Haemost. 2006;4(11):2377-2383. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16869934