Henoch-Schonlein Purpura

(Anaphylactoid Purpura; HSP; Vascular Purpura)

Definition

Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) is inflammation of the blood vessels in the skin and other body organs. When it involves the skin, it causes a telltale rash. The rash looks like bruising or small dots in the skin, referred to as purpura.

Causes

HSP is caused by an abnormal reaction of the immune system. Normally, the immune system marks and attacks foreign items like viruses and bacteria. However, with HSP, the immune system attacks the blood vessels. It is not clear why the immune system attacks the body.The change in the immune system may be triggered by:
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Certain medications
  • Recent exposure to certain vaccines
  • Infection by insect bites
HSP occurs most often after a respiratory infection. HSP is not contagious.

Risk Factors

HSP is most common in children aged 2 to 11 years old, but it can occur at any age. Factors that increase your risk of HSP include:
  • Recent upper respiratory illness, such as a cold
  • Recent exposure to vaccines, chemicals, cold weather, or insect bites

Symptoms

Symptoms may last for 4 to 6 weeks and may include:
  • Skin rash:
    • Reddish-purple spots that can be felt and are not itchy
    • Often appears on the buttocks or legs, may appear on the elbows
    • Red spots of various sizes
    • Bruising, usually below the waist
  • Pain in the joints, especially knees and ankles
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Swelling of the ankles
  • Swelling of the scrotum in males
  • Fever
  • Blood in the stool
  • Vomiting

Diagnosis

You will be asked your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Your bodily fluids, tissues, and waste may be tested. This can be done with:
  • Blood tests
  • Urinalysis
  • Stool sample
  • Skin biopsy from an area of the rash
Skin Biopsy
Skin proceedure
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

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