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Difference Between ITP and TTP

ITP vs TTP

Blood disorders are conditions wherein the normal function of blood is affected. This disorder may involve factors that influence the production of blood components like hemoglobin or blood proteins. Blood disorders may also involve conditions where there is improper coagulation of the blood or the blood cells become infected.

There are several kinds of blood disorders that exist today. This article will tackle blood clotting disorders, specifically thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Generally, these disorders are called thrombocytopenic purpura, a condition where platelet counts are affected resulting in the appearance of red or purple discolorations on the skin. What makes these two disorders different from each other?

Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a disorder that results in clotting of the small blood vessels from spontaneous platelet aggregation. The clots formed can be damaging since they can interfere with the proper flow of blood to the body’s vital organs. People with this type of disorder have insufficient amounts of enzymes necessary in inhibiting a blood clotting protein. Since many blood clots may form from this disorder, blood platelets tend to become overused. Platelets play an important role in blood clotting, and with insufficient quantities of this blood component, people tend to bruise or bleed very easily.

The symptoms of TTP result from the impeded blood flow, but others may be due to the shortage of blood platelets. Severe symptoms of this disorder may involve the brain. Patients can feel confused at times, and they tend to speak differently and have hallucinations.  Patients may also experience a rapid heart rate, weakness, fever, and they may even faint.  Apart from the common symptoms mentioned above, which are bleeding and bruising, insufficient quantities of platelets may cause small, purple spots to appear on the skin that may resemble a rash. Treating this kind of disorder usually involves blood replacement therapy. This type of treatment is applied since some blood donors may possess the blood that contains the right enzymes needed to restore the imbalance in the blood of the patient.  The disease can be episodic, so this means that patients may need to undergo treatment again if they have another episode.

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is another blood disorder that happens for no apparent reason. In this type of disorder, the clotting of blood does not occur as it is supposed to.  Low quantities of blood platelets cause failure of the blood to clot. The platelets are components of the blood that are responsible for clumping blood together. If a person does not have enough platelets, clotting usually does not take place or it may be delayed. This then results in excessive bleeding. The medical term “idiopathic” means “no definitive cause” or “of unknown cause”; hence, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is termed as such because no known explanation exists on what causes the condition. The appearance of purple bruises, bleeding gums, and nosebleeds are some of the common symptoms of this disorder.

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is not a fatal disorder and is not even considered very dangerous. Treatments are available and are usually given when the platelet count falls below 20,000 per µl.  Patients with a platelet count of 50,000/ µl and above generally do not require treatment. Using steroids is the first-line treatment for such a condition.

Summary:

  1. ITP and TTP are both blood disorders that involve platelet counts.
  2. In ITP, there is a failure of the blood to clot, while TTP results from the formation of too many blood clots which lead to overused platelets.
  3. Though each condition has a specific mechanism, both have the same end symptoms, which are easy bruising and bleeding.
  4. Treatment of TTP involves blood replacement therapy to correct the imbalance of the blood components, while ITP can be treated with oral steroids.
  5. The cause for ITP cannot be determined, while TTP is usually caused by spontaneous platelet aggregation.

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