ITP is formally known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Essentially, it is a disease wherein your immune system attacks and destroys the platelets within your blood. As the platelets are the mechanism by which blood clots, a person with ITP who suffers a cut will bleed profusely. In severe cases, the blood takes on the consistency of water, and a hurt person with ITP may bleed to death in minutes. Less severe cases involve significant bruising after only slight bumps. This is the result of burst blood vessels in the skin that have difficulty in sealing themselves closed again. It should be noted that ITP is not the same as haemophilia. In cases of haemophilia, an individual's body has difficulty in producing platelets. An ITP sufferer has no trouble producing platelets; they are simply being destroyed faster than the person's body can make them.
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Relationship to Allergies
In the case of allergies, the immune system mistakes benign substances such as pollen or cat dander as a pathogen seeking to infect or harm the human body. The immune system responds by producing an excess of antibodies, or cells designed to destroy the invader. B cells are produced as well. Their function is to designate the invader which the antibodies are to attack. As the number of allergens entering the human body increases, the immune system increases production of both antibodies and B cells to a degree where both become redundant. At this point, it's possible for the B cells to begin designating "friendly" cells for destruction; such is the case with ITP. It should be noted that this is different than the sudden release of antibodies as experienced during anaphylactic shock, in that the number of antibodies slowly increases over time.
Does Any One Allergy Cause ITP?
No one allergy causes ITP. It is important to understand that allergies are cumulative. Your body may ignore one allergen, and the same for two. But the third might trigger an allergic response such as itchy eyes and nasal congestion. A fourth could worsen the allergic response so badly as to produce seizures, and so on. The proposed cause of ITP is that the threshold of allergic response in your body is slowly exceeded, and then surpassed by a significant margin. To that end, a person might be allergic to cat dander, pollen, wheat gluten, mould and dust mites. She can come into contact with four of these allergens with only a mild reaction, but the fifth could exceed the proposed threshold and cause ITP.
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