Allergic purpura is a kind of inflammation in the small blood vessels that causes bleeding in the joints, skin, intestines and the kidneys. Even though this form of allergic response can affect any individual, it is quite common among children and young adults. The condition has the tendency to recur in some individuals and more frequently during the first few months following an initial episode. If you want to learn more about this condition, read here.
What are the causes?
At the present, the cause for allergic purpura is not yet fully understood. Ideally, it occurs once the immune system reacts to an infection but continues to attack the cells in the body even after the infection has already cleared up. Based on this theory, it is supported by the fact that allergic purpura has the tendency to recur or worsen during an upper respiratory tract infection. The possible triggers include specific antibiotics or antihistamine medications, cold weather, vaccinations of certain conditions and exposure to chemicals.
Indications of allergic purpura
The symptoms of allergic purpura are linked to the leaking blood vessels at the capillary level. The common symptoms include gastrointestinal issues, joint pain, abdominal pain, glomerulonephritis, hives, bloody stools, nausea, painful menstruation, diarrhea, vomiting and purple-colored spots on the skin usually in the lower legs, buttocks and elbows.
Diagnosing the condition
The doctor will conduct a thorough medical history and physical exam in order to confirm a diagnosis. Take note that there is no specific laboratory test that can confirm the condition. Nevertheless, there are tests that can help rule out other conditions to help confirm a diagnosis.
An elevated IgA can indicate a diagnosis of allergic purpura but it is not conclusive. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate can indicate the degree of inflammation in the body. As for the platelet count, it can check the number of cells that help the blood clot. Additionally, urine testing is requested to help evaluate the overall function of the kidneys.
If other testing measures are inconclusive, a small sample of the skin will be taken for examination. A skin biopsy will reveal a large number of white cells and IgA. Understandably, this can point out to allergic purpura. In some cases, a kidney biopsy can be carried out to help the doctor determine the suitable medication to treat the kidney disease caused by allergic purpura.
Treatment for allergic purpura
It is important to note that allergic purpura typically improves on its own in a span of 4-6 weeks without any lasting effects. The treatment is usually focused on relieving the discomfort and preventing the complications from developing. In some cases, children would require hospitalization if they have difficulty staying properly hydrated or suffers from severe joint issues, stomach pain or kidney complications. Bed rest for a short time is advised along with increasing the fluid intake and anti-inflammatory medications to help relieve the pain and discomfort.