Swelling of the skin
Skin | General Practice | Swelling of the skin (Disease)
Swelling of the skin (hives) is a rare disorder characterized by recurring episodes of swelling of parts of the skin or mucous membranes. Sometimes internal organs may be involved.
Causes and Risk factors
The disorder occurs in patients with lymph proliferative disorders which affects the function of a complex blood protein called C1 inhibitor. Hives (medically known as urticarial) are red, itchy, raised areas of skin that appear in varying shapes and sizes. Hives are very common and most often their cause is elusive. Hives can change size rapidly and to move around, disappearing in one place and reappearing in other places, often in a matter of hours. Ordinary hives flare up suddenly. Physical hives are hives produced by direct physical stimulation of the skin.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Treatment of hives is directed at symptom relief while the condition goes away on its own. Antihistamines are the most common treatment for hives. Hives typically are not associated with long-term or serious complications. Hives (medically known as urticarial) appear on the skin as wheals that are red, very itchy, smoothly elevated areas of skin often with a blanched center. They appear in varying shapes and sizes, from a few millimeters to several inches in diameter anywhere on the body. It is estimated that 20% of all people will develop urticarial at some point in their lives. Hives are more common in women than in men. One hallmark of hives is their tendency to change size rapidly and to move around, disappearing in one place and reappearing in other places, often in a matter of hours. Individual hives usually last no longer than 24 hours. An outbreak that looks impressive, even alarming, first thing in the morning can be completely gone by noon, only to be back in full force later in the day. Swelling deeper in the skin that may accompany hives is called angioedema. This swelling of the hands and feet, as well as the lips or eyelids, can be as dramatic as it is brief. ...