What is PFD?
Platelets are cells found in the blood that help control bleeding. When a child has a platelet disorder, a person’s blood may not be able to clot normally and they may develop a bleeding disorder. Most platelet disorders are acquired, meaning they appear spontaneously or as a result of an external factor; children usually aren’t born with the disorder. This is where Noah is very special because he was born with the condition.
What are Platelets?
Platelets are cells that circulate in the blood stream and help the blood clot. When a child has a platelet disorder, a person’s blood may not be able to clot normally and they may develop a bleeding disorder.
Types of PFD
Acute thrombocytopenic purpura:
- most common form of idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura
- usually occurs in children, ages 2 to 6
- symptoms may follow a viral infection, such as chickenpox
- very sudden onset, with symptoms disappearing in less than six months and often within a few weeks
- usually does not recur
- risk of serious or life-threatening bleeding is very low
Chronic thrombocytopenic purpura:
- more common in adults but can occur at any age
- affects girls two to three times more often than boys
- symptoms last a minimum of six months and can persist for many years
- may become a lifelong problem
- regular follow-up care with a blood specialist (hematologist) is recommended
What causes PFD?
In most cases, the cause of ITP is not known.
- Often, a child may have had a viral infection a few weeks before developing symptoms of ITP.
- Viral infections may trigger ITP, as the antibodies the body develops to fight them could be abnormal.
- Researchers have also explored the possibility that certain medications cause ITP but no direct link has been made.
- ITP is not contagious, meaning your child cannot catch it from playing with another child who has ITP.
Are PFDs common?
Platelet function disorders are not extremely common. In most cases they are acquired, or caused by an external factor like another illness or medication. In rare cases they are inherited.
What are the symptoms of PFD?
The most common symptoms of platelet disorders are:
- purpura (purple color of the skin after blood has leaked under it forming a bruise, often from no known trauma)
- petechia (tiny red dots under the skin that are a result of very small bleeds into the skin)
- bleeding in the mouth and/or in and around the gums
- blood in vomit, urine or stool
- bleeding in the head (most dangerous symptom that can be life-threatening, usually prompted by a head trauma)
Get on with it!
Preventing serious bleeding is very important so parents often suggest :
- padding your bed
- wearing a helmet for rough play i.e. climbing
- providing protective other clothing i.e. pads for arms and legs
- restricting certain contact sports and rough play i.e. not playing contact rugby
- avoiding medications that may interfere with platelet function and may cause bleeding, including aspirin and ibuprofen.
Noah, like lots of other children with bleeding disorders, often wears a helmet to keep him safe whilst playing – could you draw a picture of yourself with a helmet on and see if you can win a fab prize for the best drawing? Please use the Contact page to send an e-mail and we’ll e-mail you back x
Plato the Funky Dragon
F8 have created Plato the Funky Dragon – taken from an idea by local author and illustrator, Heather Buchanan - to create a children’s character in aid of raising awareness and funds for research into Platelet Function Disorders. The boys at F8 have brought Plato to life for us and the designs are part of the ongoing rebrand that the team are creating and we look forward to seeing more as they are designed over the coming months.
Plato the Funky Dragon was named because he has the same letters as the condition we’re raising money for … Platelet Function Disorders. Plato will help us to promote Funny Blood and spread the word about the work we’re doing. We hope you like him?!
Plato is dedicated to Olly Roberts x