December 7, 2022

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Primary immune thrombocytopenia: I was minutes away from death

Primary immune thrombocytopenia: I was minutes away from death

In an exciting few hours, the life of Juliana Pascariella (21 years old) from Virginia in the US has been turned upside down.

In April 2020, the young woman discovered small red spots all over her body, according to Jam Press.

“I thought the rash was harmless, but in fact I was minutes away from death,” the 21-year-old told the news agency.

Nosebleeds and bruising

For the past few months, she has been feeling very tired, without thinking much about it. Her skin was paler and more lustrous than before.

It all started with my feeling very ill. Not only tired, but physically exhausted and sick. My body was heavy and I couldn’t see clearly. She says: I was feeling nauseous and dizzy.

At first she dismissed the red dots as harmless, but soon she shocked her life: within 15 minutes, she had bruises all over her body. Blood was spurting out of his nose, and he didn’t seem to want to stop.

Nothing: Juliana knows nothing of the dangerous condition, until she suddenly finds herself in a life-threatening situation.  Photo: Jam Press

Nothing: Juliana knows nothing of the dangerous condition, until she suddenly finds herself in a life-threatening situation. Photo: Jam Press
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Juliana was taken to hospital, where she was diagnosed with primary immune thrombocytopenia (formerly known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP).

rare blood disease

It is a rare blood disease in which the patient has too few platelets in the blood Major medical encyclopedias.

One of the symptoms of low platelet count is the appearance of small red-purple dot-shaped spots, called petechiae, which occur as a result of bleeding.

Full of dots: This is what Juliana's legs looked like when she was admitted to the hospital.  Today, I learned it was a danger signal.  Photo: Jam Press

Full of dots: This is what Juliana’s legs looked like when she was admitted to the hospital. Today, I learned it was a danger signal. Photo: Jam Press
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The encyclopedia also states the possibility of bleeding from the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth, eyes, stomach and intestines.

The disease comes from the body’s immune system attacking platelets. Serious bleeding occurs in only about one percent. They write that the most terrifying complication is brain hemorrhage.

Risk of cerebral hemorrhage

For Juliana, the disease had serious consequences. She was told at the hospital that she was at risk of developing a brain haemorrhage and might not survive.

Knowing that I could have a brain haemorrhage at any time, and that I might die, gave me a whole new perspective on life, Juliana says according to Jam Press.

The 21-year-old learned that her platelet level was around 3000 per microliter. According to the site Norwegian Health Informatics The normal number of platelets ranges from 150,000 to 350,000 per microliter.

When the platelet count falls below 10,000 per microliter, bleeding can occur without prior damage, they wrote.

scary message

In the hospital, they conducted several examinations, before Juliana received a frightening message:

– They said that I was lucky that I did not have internal bleeding, and if I had not come to the hospital, I would probably not have survived. She says I was confused and scared, I was totally alone.

Bacchia: If you develop such red spots on the skin, which are still visible when you press the glass against it, you should contact your doctor, writes Lommelegen.  Photo: TisforThan / Shutterstock / NTB

PETECCHIA: If you get such red spots on the skin, which are still visible when you press the glass against it, you should contact your doctor, writes pocket doctor. Photo: TisforThan / Shutterstock / NTB
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Juliana’s parents were not allowed to visit the hospital. She had to be treated with a blood transfusion immediately. Without this, she could have died, she says.

Hearing what could happen to me was almost comforting. I knew why the dots appeared, why I felt weak and sick. Now I finally got an answer.

– constant fear

The 21-year-old has never heard of ITP before, and finds it intimidating when he doesn’t know where it came from. She explains that “idiopathic” means doctors don’t know what’s causing the condition.

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– This is not a genetic condition and there is no underlying cause. Not knowing why this is so can be terrifying to me. I know my platelet level can drop within an hour, without knowing why, Juliana says, adding:

I’m generally fine, apart from the constant fear that I might have another episode if I feel tired or sick one day. It’s a fear that comes and goes: will it ever happen to me again?

– Find a doctor!

Juliana shared a video of her illness on TikTok, which has so far been viewed by more than two million people. She says she gained a different outlook on life after the tragic accident.

As a young woman in her twenties, I realized that life is fragile. This experience was life changing. Even though it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever been through, I’m glad I got a diagnosis. I can now prepare for future episodes and help others understand the condition.

Now the 21-year-old wants to encourage others to speak up if they think something is wrong with them, rather than just pushing it aside.

You should always be vigilant when it comes to your body. Our brain tells us when something is wrong. If we don’t follow it up, or ignore it, it can be life-threatening, she says, explaining:

Watch for bruises and spots, and watch how you feel physically. If you think something is wrong, find a doctor. Ask questions, read – and most importantly – take care of yourself and get the treatment you need, before it’s too late!

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