Biggest Loser Dies From Rare Disorder
This past week one of the former NBC Biggest Loser contestants died. Damien Gurganious was 38 years old and married to another former contestant Nicole Brewer, the couple has a 2 yr old daughter Giselle. I am a HUGE fan of this show I have not missed a season. This couple was engaged when they sought the help of Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper on the seventh season of The Biggest Loser. They lost a WHOPPING 264 pounds together. They got married August of 2009 after the show. Damien died from a sudden onset of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) that caused inoperable bleeding in his brain. He died on November 24, 2014.
What is ITP?
Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura is a disorder that can lead to easy or excessive bruising and bleeding. The bleeding results from unusually low levels of platelets — the cells that help your blood clot.
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, which is also called immune thrombocytopenic purpura, affects both children and adults. Children often develop idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura after a viral infection and usually recover fully without treatment. In adults, however, the disorder is often chronic.
Treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura depends on your symptoms, your platelet count and your age. If you don’t have signs of bleeding and your platelet count isn’t too low, treatment for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura usually isn’t necessary. More serious cases may be treated with medications or, in critical situations, with surgery.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of ITP:
- Easy or excessive bruising (purpura) — your skin naturally bruises and bleeds more easily as you age, but this shouldn’t be confused with ITP
- Superficial bleeding into your skin that appears as a rash of pinpoint-sized reddish-purple spots (petechiae), usually on your lower legs (This is the one I remember most from medical school)
- Prolonged bleeding from cuts
- Spontaneous bleeding from nose
- Bleeding gums, especially after dental work
- Blood in urine or stools
- Unusually heavy menstrual flow
If you have any of these symptoms please call your doctor and let them know your symptoms. In children ITP usually appears after a viral illness such as mumps or flu. There is no known cause for this syndrome because it is auto-immune (immune system begins attacking the platelets). When ITP is diagnosed early there are treatments that will help increase platelet counts.
NBC’s Biggest Loser will have a memorial to Damien after their December 11, 2014 episode. Friends of the family have established a s fundraising campaign for this family if you would like to donate please click HERE.