Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a blood disorder where blood forms clots throughout the body in small blood vessels. The clots that form in body use up resources, like platelets, present in the blood. TTP occurs when some mechanism causes impaired activity of ADAMTS13, an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of a protein referred to as von Willebrand factor, which forms clots by binding with platelet clumps.
There are two different types of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Inherited TTP refers to a genetic mutation inherited from an individual's parents that impair the effect of ADAMTS13. Acquired TTP describes when the body produces proteins or antibodies that hinder the activity of ADAMTS13. Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura is diagnosed through numerous blood tests that reveal specific antibodies and activity levels of ADAMTS13. Treatment involves the use of steroid medications and plasma-like substances to replace the missing enzyme.
Shortness Of Breath
An individual may have thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura if they experience shortness of breath frequently. The primary mechanism in thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura that results in shortness of breath is a condition referred to as hemolytic anemia. Hemolytic anemia is a condition where an affected individual's red blood cells are being killed off at a faster rate than they are being produced. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. When there are not enough red blood cells in the body, the tissues around the body do not receive enough oxygen to operate properly.
The patient's brain can sense when tissues around the body are not receiving enough oxygen by detecting high levels of carbon dioxide. The brain reacts by sending signals to the heart and the lungs to increase the patient's breathing rate and heart rate. This mechanism is activated in an attempt to compensate for the low oxygen levels in the body. A faster breathing rate helps bring in large quantities of oxygen, and a faster heart rate helps move it around the body quicker. However, these mechanisms cause unpleasant symptoms in the patient, including shortness of breath.