Henoch Schonlein Purpura - Dream Health

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Thursday 9 October 2014

Henoch Schonlein Purpura

Henoch Schonlein Purpura – Inflammation of Small Blood Vessels

Henoch-Schonlein purpura – HSP, is a disease which involves inflammation of small blood vessels and is usually seen in children resulting in a skin rash accompanied with joint and tummy pain. The medical term for inflammation of the blood vessels is known as `vasculitis’, meaning they get irritated and swollen. The inflammation could cause the small surface blood vessels to bleed in the skin resulting in the rash which is seen and known as HSP.

It could also affect blood vessels in the kidneys as well as in the bowel. The main symptom is rash which tends to appear with numerous small bruises and a raised appearance over the body, especially on the bottom and legs. Though this disease may affect people of any age group, it often occurs in children in the age groups of 2 and 11 and is more common in boys than girls.

 HSP is more likely to be severe in adults when compared to children and often ends after a period of four to six weeks and sometime there is a recurrence of symptoms over the period without any long term effects. Treatment is essential if organs such as kidneys and intestine tend to get affected with important follow up to be undertaken in order to prevent any serious complications.

Tests – Blood/Urine Dipstick/Stool/Skin Sample

Kidney inflammation often gets better without any complication or the need for treatment and rarely leads to kidney failure or damage. It is essential to keep a check on any early signs of kidney problems with regular urine tests as directed by the physician.

To diagnose HSP, tests like blood test is done to see how well the kidneys are functioning or to check for possible signs of infection, urine dipstick test is done to check traces of blood or protein in the urine since the kidneys may at times be inflamed which may develop weeks or months after the rash has disappeared.

 Stool test is conducted to check for signs of blood and skin biopsy where a small sample of skin is taken and sent to the laboratory for examination under a microscope. This disease is not usually serious and tends to improve on its own after days or weeks without any treatment. Anti-inflammatory medication can be taken to relieve some of the joint pain together with rest.

HSP Associated to Vaccination/Foods/Chemicals/Insects Bites

At times steroid medication could also be helpful in case of severe stomach pain. Physician need to be contacted if the child’s urine tends to be red, rusty or blood colour, if the urine has more of protein on the dipstick two days in a row, or severe tummy ache and vomits green fluid – bile, joint swelling tend to be painful, to the extent of being unable to walk etc.

The cause of this disease in unknown but it is believed that the body’s immune system plays a role in affecting the blood vessels. Also an abnormal immune response to an infection could also be the result of this disease.

Some cases of HSP have been associated to vaccinations for typhoid, yellow fever, cholera, measles or hepatitis B, drugs, foods, chemicals and insect bites. Some experts are also of the opinion that HSP is associated with the colder weather of winter and fall.

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