Home Immune systemAutoimmune diseases Purple disease: causes, symptoms and treatment – with pictures

Purple disease: causes, symptoms and treatment – with pictures

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The disease purpura, medically called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), is an autoimmune disorder in which the affected person has low levels of platelets because the antibodies produced in the spleen mistakenly attack and destroy the body’s blood cells. This causes the wounds to take a long time to stop bleeding, to be more prone to infections, bruises to appear more quickly, and even to have bleeding in the intestines or the brain with a minor blow. Its treatment may include taking some drugs that help raise the blood platelet count, blood transfusions, or surgical intervention; everything will depend on the origin of said disorder and the state of health of which the patient is.

At FastlyHealwe will inform you about this bleeding disorder by showing you the causes, symptoms, and treatment of purpura disease.

Causes of purple disease

In most cases, the causes of purpura disease are unknown. People who suffer from this autoimmune pathology generate antibodies that attack and destroy the body’s platelets. They cannot carry out their function in the blood clotting process and, therefore, cannot stop bleeding nor create a protective barrier against germs.

Some of the causes of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura that have been noted include the following:

  • In children, this bleeding disorder can sometimes occur after they have developed a viral infection.
  • In adults, it can occur after a viral infection, by taking some medications, during pregnancy, or as part of some autoimmune disease.

Types of purple disease

Two types of purpura disease are contemplated, one affecting children and the other affecting adults:

  • Acute ITP is sensitive because its duration is usually less than six months. It usually occurs in children between 2 and 4 years old, and in this case, it tends to remit spontaneously.
  • Chronic ITP: it is called regular because its duration lasts more than six months and usually becomes a permanent disorder. This is more common in adults.

In addition, it is essential to note that it is a more common disease in children than in adults and that even though anyone can present it, it is more common in young women under 40 years of age than in men.

Symptoms of purpura disease

The symptoms of purpura disease can include the following conditions in both child and adult patients:

  • I am bruising very easily.
  • The presence of petechiae, which are tiny reddish-purple spots on the body, appears due to bleeding under the surface layer of the skin. They can appear in groups and give the appearance of a rash.
  • Wounds and cuts take a long time to stop bleeding or where it takes a long time for blood to clot.
  • Presence of blood in urine or stool.
  • Menses with a hefty flow. This is a ubiquitous sign among women with this bleeding disorder.
  • Bleeding of unknown cause from the nose or gums.
  • Only in rare cases: bleeding inside the intestinal tract or brain.

Diagnosis of purpura disease

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) can be diagnosed through several medical tests and examinations.

The specialist will study the patient’s medical history and perform a physical examination. After that, he will request a complete blood test or hemogram to count the blood cells and platelets and check if their levels are lower than usual.

In addition to the above, in other cases, the specialist may also request a bone marrow examination to rule out that other disorders cause the symptoms presented.

Only in rare cases a computed tomography (CT) scan can be done if it is considered that there may be bleeding in the brain.

Treatment of purpura disease in adults

Likely, the cases of mild ITP do not require specific treatment but only monitoring of their platelet levels.

Treatment of purpura disease is carried out when patients have platelet levels below 20,000 / mm3 and may consist of what we show below.


  • Corticosteroids (such as prednisone): medicines that help raise platelet levels
  • Immunosuppressants – Medications are given when platelet levels remain low after corticosteroid treatment.
  • Gamma globulin: infusions (intravenously) of this blood plasma protein containing antibodies that prevent platelets’ destruction.
  • Anti-RhD therapy: administration of one injection or several to lower the antibodies present in the bloodstream.


When drugs do not respond and are not sufficient to treat purpura, the medical specialist may recommend that the patient undergo surgery to remove the spleen (splenectomy). This organ is responsible for producing most of the antibodies that destroy platelets and old blood cells.

Removing the spleen makes the body much less able to fight infection, and therefore this is an option that is only considered when all other medical treatments have not worked.

Treatment of purpura disease in infants and children

When this disorder affects children, in most cases, no specific medical treatment is necessary, and treatment of the bleeding symptoms may be sufficient.

In cases where specific medical treatment is required, prednisone consumption or intravenous gamma globulin infusions may be recommended to increase the platelet count more quickly.

It is important to note that both adults and children with this disease should not consume aspirin, ibuprofen, or warfarin, as these medications interfere with the function of platelets in the blood clotting process and, therefore, can be cause bleeding.

Is purple disease contagious?

When faced with whether the purple disease is contagious, we must say no, since it is an autoimmune disorder that is not transmitted from one person to another.

It has been pointed out that it cannot be confirmed that it is a disease that is hereditary since a relationship has not been found that establishes that it is transmitted from parents to children.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Purple disease: causes, symptoms, and treatment – with photos , we recommend that you enter our Immune system category .

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