Understanding Lupus Hives
Having a chronic physical health condition is a frustrating, depressing, and anxiety-provoking situation for many people. Not only do you have to suffer through the well-known and documented symptoms, but you also have to manage each and every lesser-known symptom.
With a condition like lupus, just when you think you have experienced everything it has to throw your way, there is a new surprise around the corner. One example of this is lupus hives.
Before getting into the specifics of secondary symptoms, it is essential to have an understanding of lupus as a broader condition. Lupus is a complicated concern where the body is tricked into attacking its own tissues and organs. Because of this harmful immune response, inflammation takes over and begins to damage the person’s joints, skin, blood cells, and organs, including the heart, lungs, and brain.
Lupus is a complicated condition because it never clearly presents with easily identifiable symptoms, and since lupus frequently mimics the symptoms and side effects of other conditions, doctors usually need extra time and information to make an accurate diagnosis. Every person with lupus has a unique and difficult group of symptoms that may develop rapidly or build slowly over time.
The Basics of Hives
Hives are any form of itchy welt on the skin. They can be as tiny as a grain of salt or as a wide as a watermelon. Hives may present because of many different triggers, not just lupus.
Hives usually last for about 24 hours. The most common signs and symptoms of hives include:
- Red or pink marks that are slightly raised
- Single welts or groups of marks that connect over an area
- Skin swelling
- Itchiness that can range from a mild discomfort to an extreme irritation
- Pain or a stinging feeling around the area
The hives may return to the same spot of the body, or they may move between locations.
Common Causes of Hives
Anyone can get hives at any time. For the most part, hives are caused by an allergic reaction to triggers in the environment like:
- Foods including fruits, milk, eggs, nuts, and shellfish
- Insect bites and stings
- Animals including dogs and cats
- Pollen and seasonal allergens
Some of the other causes of hives include:
- Viral, bacterial, and fungal infections
- Exposure to the sun, extreme heat or cold
- Pressure spots on the skin in the case of sitting or lying too long
- Exposure to chemicals
Adding to the list of potential sources of hives are certain illnesses like vasculitis, thyroid disease, and lupus. Yes. Lupus can cause hives.
Exploring the Link Between Hives and Lupus
Now that you know more about lupus and you know about the process of hives, you can understand the link between hives and lupus. Actually, this part of the story is complicated since even experts in the field are not fully sure all of the factors that contribute to lupus hives.
One theory speculates that the body produces specific antibodies in the fight against lupus, and it is these antibodies that bring about the hives. Another theory suggests that people with lupus are especially sensitive to the sun, and it causes an increase in hives for them. Still, another hypothesis says that people with lupus will experience hives because they are side effects from the medications used to treat the condition.
Hives only last about 24 hours, but some people with lupus may have persistent hives called urticarial vasculitis. This symptom may present as a hive, but it is caused by inflammation of blood vessels and may leave a bruise after they go away.
Popular Treatments and Remedies for Lupus Hives
Hives typically respond well to a variety of treatments. Some of the best hive remedies include:
- Over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl or Claritin
- H-2 blockers usually used to treat heartburn like Tagamet
These treatments may quickly and effectively reduce the symptoms and effects of hives, but in other situations, people may struggle to be rid of the hives. These people will have to shift their focus to prevention rather than treatment.
People more interested in preventing the development of hives associated to lupus should:
- Work with their doctor to ensure that these effects are actually hives
- Track the trends and patterns for their hives
- Study what triggers may cause hives to appear
- Limit stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression
- Undergo allergy testing and avoid items that could ignite allergies
- Use a daily antihistamine, especially during days, times of the year, or situations where avoid triggers is impossible
With lupus, the condition presents a long list of effects and symptoms, so hives may not be the most pressing issue. They are problematic, though, and they deserve some time and attention.
Perhaps, you cannot magically make all of your symptoms disappear, but with some time, you could eliminate your lupus hives.