Purpura is purple-colored spots and patches that occur on the skin, organs, and in mucus membranes, including the lining of the mouth.
Purpura occurs when small blood vessels join together or leak blood under the skin.
When purpura spots are very small, they are called petechiae. Large purpura are called ecchymoses.
Platelets help the blood clot. A person with purpura may have normal platelet counts (nonthrombocytopenic purpuras) or low platelet counts (thrombocytopenic purpuras).
Nonthrombocytopenic purpuras may be due to:
Thrombocytopenic purpura may be due to:
Call your doctor for an appointment if you have signs of purpura.
Your doctor will examine your skin and ask you questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
A skin biopsy may be done.
Blood spots; Skin hemorrhages
Korman NJ. Macular, papular, vesicobullous, and pustular diseases. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 465.
Coller BS, Schneidermann PI. Clinical evaluation of hemorrhagic disorders: the bleeding history and differential diagnosis of purpura. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone; 2008: chap 121.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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