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Henoch schonlein purpura: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About henoch schonlein purpura

Henoch schonlein purpura is a disorder of the blood vessels. It is characterized by inflammation of the small blood vessels of the skin, joints, kidneys and digestive organs. It usually manifests as a mild disorder in most individuals and subsides spontaneously.

Henoch schonlein purpura : Incidence, age and sex

Henoch schonlein purpura is not an uncommon occurrence in society. Children are more frequently afflicted as compared with adults. The disorder has a distinct gender predilection for boys in comparison to girls.

Signs and symptoms of henoch schonlein purpura: Diagnosis

The signs and symptoms depend upon the site of involvement. Skin is most frequently affected and characterized by presence of reddish-purple, bruise like rash on elbows, lower legs and buttocks. These rashes arise due to bleeding from inflamed blood vessels. Involvement of the digestive tract may elicit pain in the abdomen along with nausea, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Affected individuals may also complain of pain in the joints especially the ankle and knee. The involvement of kidney may also occur in some individuals which is manifested by passing blood in the urine. These symptoms may continue for a month or so before resolving.

The diagnosis of Henoch schonlein purpura can be established by biopsy of skin lesion. Urine analysis can also throw light on the disorder, if the kidneys get afflicted.

Causes and prevention of henoch schonlein purpura

The exact cause of Henoch schonlein purpura is not evident. It is considered to result from an abnormal response of the immune system. It may follow an infection of the upper respiratory tract in most cases. Henoch schonlein purpura leads to the inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis) of various organs. This results in occurrence of skin lesions, glomerulo-nephritis of kidneys and affliction of joints and digestive organs.

Henoch schonlein purpura: Complications

Henoch schonlein purpura can lead to serious complications like internal bleeding and intestinal blockage (intussusception) which are medical emergencies and may be fatal without immediate medical intervention. The kidneys may get irreversibly damaged in rare cases.

Henoch schonlein purpura: Treatment

Henoch schonlein purpura is a self-limiting disorder which mostly subsides spontaneously within a few weeks. Symptomatic relief may be provided by prescription of NSAIDs medication like ibuprofen for intense joint pain. Anti-emetic drugs can be considered in individuals who are distressed by symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Sometimes, the features of this disorder may persist for long periods. Such cases may benefit from oral steroids like prednisolone. The outlook of Henoch schonlein purpura is otherwise good and it resolves without any lasting problem.