Purpura is purple-colored spots and patches that occur on the skin, organs, and in mucus membranes, including the lining of the mouth.
Blood spots; Skin hemorrhages
Purpura occurs when small blood vessels under the skin leak.
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 decreased platelet counts (thrombocytopenic purpuras).
Nonthrombocytopenic purpuras may be due to:
Thrombocytopenic purpura may be due to:
Call your health care provider if:
Call your doctor for an appointment if you have signs of purpura.
What to expect at your health care provider's office:
Your doctor will examine your skin and ask you questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
- Is this the first time you have had such spots?
- When did they develop?
- What color are they?
- Do they look like bruises?
- What medications do you take?
- What other medical problems have you had?
- Does anyone in your family have similar spots?
- What other symptoms do you have?
A skin biopsy may be done.
Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2004:2410.
Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 4th ed. Orlando, Fl: Churchill Livingstone; 2005.