Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Low Blood Platelets (ITP)
We know that vitamin B12 deficiency wipes out red blood cells, but less is known about its impact on blood platelets. Many scientists attribute ITP to autoimmune disorders such as pernicious anemia.
What is ITP?
Thrombocytopenia is a blood platelet (thrombocytes) deficiency. When you get a cut on your finger, thrombocytes are the blood cells that stop the bleeding by forming a plug to heal the wound.
Thrombocytopenia can be acquired from bone marrow disease, or it may have an unknown cause, as in idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).
How did I get ITP?
- Scientists believe that ITP is an autoimmune disorder, noting a correlation with autoimmune diseases, such as pernicious anemia-vitamin B12 deficiency and lupus.
- Sometimes, children get ITP after having a virus like the flu.
- Alcohol abuse is also thought to cause ITP.
- ITP may also be connected with an infection or tumor.
What are the symptoms of ITP?
Low blood platelet production results in many telltale symptoms, including:
- Excess bleeding that doesn’t heal
- Bleeding from gums or nose
- Internal bleeding resulting from injury
- Abnormally heavy bleeding following dentistry or surgery
- Heavy bruising not related to serious injuries
- Rash-like red dots on the lower legs caused by bleeding
- Bloody urine or stools
- Unusually heavy menstrual periods
Treatments for ITP
Very often, ITP will cure itself. Children who get ITP usually see an increase in blood platelets after several months.
With chronic ITP, your doctor may recommend:
- Splenectomy surgery
- Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG)
- Thrombopoietin receptor agonists
- Vitamin B12 supplementation (with pernicious anemia)
- Routine vitamin B12 blood tests along with platelet testing
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Avoiding blood thinners whenever possible
- Avoiding rigorous exercises like football, soccer, and sprinting
- Checking wounds frequently for possible infections
Please tell us…
Have you noticed symptoms like frequent bruising or cuts that don’t heal? Have you tested for both iron deficiency anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency anemia?
Do you have any questions or suggestions? Please leave your comments below.
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