PURPURA also known as Henoch-Schonlein Purpura is a medical hemorrhagic condition in which small blood vessels burst causing blood to pool just beneath the skin. The lack of normal platelets causes this condition causing tiny red patches to appear on the skin. These patches may appear purple, dark brown, or sometimes black in darker skin tones and measure about 4-10 mm in diameter. They generally occur in large clusters covering a large portion of the skin. The size of purpura spots that measure less than 4 mm are known as petechiae and if they are greater than 1cm they are known as ecchymoses.
CATEGORIZATION OF PURPURA
Based on platelet count, Purpura spots are classified into two broad categories.
- THROMBOCYTOPENIC PURPURA – When the platelet count is alarmingly low, it gives rise to a clotting disorder which may cause excessive bleeding and bruising. The major cause of it may be Cancer, any HIV infections, bone marrow transplant, or any unusual medications.
- NON-THROMBOCYTOPENIC PURPURA – Even when the platelet count tends to be normal, sometimes due to unknown causes, it gives rise to Non-thrombocytopenic Purpura. This is generally caused due to Vasculitis; it occurs mainly in children. It may enhance respiratory problems and can be fatal.
MAJOR CAUSES OF PURPURA
- any blood transfusion
- hereditary disorders that may cause damage in blood vessels
- scurvy, lack of vitamin C
- inflammatory disease
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- excessive bleeding even on a minor injury
- blood in urine
- rash on the skin surface
- swelling in knees, ankles
- kidney problems
LINE OF TREATMENT
No immediate treatment is required for patients suffering from Purpura. Health care providers watch for any other symptoms to grow and further medication is prescribed. In severe chronic diseases such as kidney failure, some drugs may further damage them. Sometimes to reduce the pain and swelling antibiotics are prescribed. Blood thinners or any drug that impairs platelet functioning may be stopped.
Those patients who are on blood-thinning medications such as WARFARIN (COUMADIN) are asked by their health care providers to regularly monitor their PT/INR ratio so that the proper doses of WARFARIN can be adjusted. An alternative to laboratories and waiting longer for the reports, patients can now easily test their PT/INR with PT/INR METERS at home and get the results in seconds. PATIENT SELF TESTING is one the easiest ways to conduct the test that gives accurate results in no time.