What is Henoch-Schonlein purpura?

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Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) is an uncommon condition where the blood vessels are inflamed. It generally results to rashes as well as joint and abdominal pain.

The condition can affect individuals at any age, but most cases arise among children below 10. The blood vessels all over the body become irritated and swollen which can trigger issues such as bleeding into the skin and occasional issues that affect the bowel and kidneys. Henoch-Schonlein purpura is not generally serious and most cases settle in just a few weeks.

What are the indications?

The main indications of Henoch-Schonlein purpura include:

  • Skin rash that appear as small-sized bruising or red-purple dots, typically on the legs, buttocks and around the elbows and oftentimes on the face and upper body.
  • Joint pain especially the ankles and knees that can also become tender, swollen and warm.
    Joint pain especially the ankles and knees that can also become tender, swollen and warm.
  • Abdominal pain that can arise abruptly before the rash occurs.

The condition can also trigger other symptoms including passing of blood-streaked stool or urine, diarrhea and vomiting.

It is often linked with a previous infection which is why there are initial symptoms such as fever and feeling generally sick.

What are the causes?

Henoch-Schonlein purpura is brought about by an issue with the immune system, possibly from a previous infection.

It is known to arise after a viral or bacterial infection of the throat, lungs or airways. The condition could not spread from one individual to another and does not run in families.

Management of Henoch-Schonlein purpura

The condition is not generally serious since most can be treated at home with occasional appointments to monitor the condition. In severe cases though, it is vital to be admitted to a healthcare facility.

The joint pain, rash and abdominal pain typically settles over days or weeks without requiring treatment. Anti-inflammatory medications can be given to relieve the joint pain if necessary, but a doctor should be consulted first especially those with bowel or kidney issues. In addition, a steroid can be useful in alleviating severe abdominal pain.

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