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Type O and Low Platelets


The other day your 'next" question was to be about 'O' type and low platelets. This never appeared. Can we ever look to the day it will be one of the questions answered. I would really like to express my appreciation for you and this web site but I just can't find the words. So I'll just say a simple 'THANK YOU'. However, keep up this good work you are doing I really appreciate what you are doing and I believe you are BLESSED.


I apologize. The question did appear for a few hours and was then gobbled up by a bug in the program.

Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) is a disorder of the blood. The main symptom is bleeding, which can include bruising ("ecchymosis") and tiny red dots on the skin or mucous membranes ("petechiae"). In some instances bleeding from the nose, gums, digestive or urinary tracts may also occur.

Immune refers to the immune system's involvement in this disorder. Antibodies, part of the body's immunologic defense against infection, attach to blood platelet, cells that help stop bleeding, and cause their destruction. Thrombocytopenia refers to decrease in blood platelet. Purpura refers to the purplish- looking areas of the skin and mucous membranes (such as the lining of the mouth) where bleeding has occurred as a result of decreased platelet.

Thrombocytopenic purpura is considered chronic when it has lasted more than 6 months. The onset of illness may be at any age. Adults more often have the chronic disorder and females are affected two to three times more than males. The onset of illness may be at any age. The treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is determined by the severity of the symptoms. In some cases, no therapy is needed. In most cases, drugs that alter the immune system's attack on the platelet are prescribed. These include corticosteroids (i.e., prednisone) and/or intravenous infusions of immune globulin.

A treatment that usually results in an increased number of platelet is removal of the spleen, the organ that destroys antibody-coated platelet. Another treatment involves the use of intravenous gamma globulin serum (IVIG) and in one study there were no significant differences in response rate or clinical outcome by ABO blood group or Rh type in children with ITP who received IVIG monotherapy as their initial treatment. (1) Although you identify yourself as type O, one study showed an increased incidence of blood group A was found in ITP patients (64 vs. 37.98% in the control population), especially in those with acute ITP (84.7%), an association I've verified in my own clinic. (2)

As far as treatment is concerned, I've always seen rewarding results when the patients have stuck to the right diet for their blood type. I've also used the herb Berberis vulgaris (Barberry) as a front-line treatment. In one study, the authors recommend berberine bisulfate (the active ingredient in Barberry) for use as a thrombocytopoiesis (platelet growth) stimulator in thrombocytopenias as they have found secondary therapeutic property of this drug--to increase platelet count in patients with primary and secondary thrombocytopenia. The drug was given as 3 times a day for 15 days in a dose 5 mg 20 min before meals. (3) I've also found moderate doses of the anti-oxidant selenium (100-200mcg daily) to be effective as well (4)

  1. Sturgill MG, Nagabandi SR, Drachtman RA, Ettinger AG, Rubin J, Ettinger LJ . The effect of ABO and Rh blood type on the response to intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) in children with immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 1997 Nov-Dec;19(6):523-5
  2. el-Khateeb MS, Awidi AS, Tarawneh MS, Abu-Khalaf M. HLA antigens, blood groups and immunoglobulin levels in idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Acta Haematol 1986;76(2-3):110-4
  3. Chekalina SI, Umurzakova RZ, Saliev KK, Abdurakhmanov TR. [Effect of berberine bisulfate on platelet hemostasis in thrombocytopenia patients]. Gematol Transfuziol. 1994 Sep-Oct;39(5):33-5. Russian.
  4. Hampel G, Schaller KH, Rosenmuller M, Oefele C. Selenium-deficiency as contributing factor to anemia and thrombocytopenia in dialysis patients. Life Support Syst. 1985;3 Suppl 1:36-40.

The Ask Dr. D'Adamo internet advice column ran from 1996 to 2009, at which time Dr. D'Adamo's teaching and programming responsibilities no longer allowed him to devote time and resources to directly answering visitor questions. However we've recently reorganized this treasure-trove of material and made it again available to his readership. He occasionally posts new entries. These are marked with a NEW tag.

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