Henoch schonlein

Abdomen | General Practice | Henoch schonlein (Disease)


Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) is a short-term inflammation of certain blood vessels (vasculitis) thought to be triggered by a malfunction of the immune system.

Symptoms include a purple spotted skin rash, abdominal pain and gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhoea. Children (particularly boys) are most commonly affected, although the condition can develop in adults too. Generally, the older the person is, the more severe the symptoms will be.

Common symptoms of Henoch-Schonlein purpura include red or purple spots on the buttocks, lower legs, and elbows. Additional symptoms of Henoch-Schonlein purpura include joint pains, knee pain, ankle pain, abdominal pain, nausea, and fever.

Causes and Risk factors

The cause of this malfunction is unknown, but HSP tends to develop after an upper respiratory tract infection or a bout of hay fever. Another name for Henoch-Schonlein purpura is anaphylactoid purpura.

It is a disease of the skin and other organs that most commonly affects children. In the skin, the disease causes palpable purpura (small hemorrhages); often with joint and abdominal pain. With kidney involvement, there may be a loss of small amounts of blood and protein in the urine, but this usually goes unnoticed; in a small proportion of cases, the kidney involvement proceeds to chronic kidney disease. HSP is often preceded by an infection, such as pharyngitis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Pain killers may be needed for the abdominal and joint pains. It is uncertain as to whether HSP needs treatment beyond controlling the symptoms. Most patients do not receive therapy because of the high spontaneous recovery rate. Steroids are generally avoided. However, if they are given early in the disease episode, the duration of symptoms may be shortened, and abdominal pain can improve significantly. Moreover, the chance of severe kidney problems is reduced. ...

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