What Is Hypersensitivity
is inflammation of blood vessels. It can damage blood vessels by thickening,
scarring, and weakening the cell wells. There are many different types of
vasculitis. Some are acute and last a short time, while others can be chronic. Hypersensitivity
vasculitis is an acute form of this condition that is marked by inflammation or
redness of the skin that occurs when you come in contact with an irritating
characterized by the appearance of red spots on the skin, most commonly,
palpable purpura. Palpable purpura are raised spots that are usually red but
may darken to a purple color. However, many other types of rashes can occur.
that can cause skin inflammation include:
other foreign object that you might have an allergic reaction to
hypersensitivity vasculitis is caused by drug interaction, but it can also
occur in conjunction with certain infections or viruses. In some cases the
exact cause cannot be identified.
Triggers for a
Hypersensitivity Vasculitis Reaction
vasculitis is commonly triggered by a reaction to a drug. The most common drugs
linked to hypersensitivity vasculitis include:
(a class of antibiotics)
blood pressure medications
(Dilantin, an antiseizure medication)
This type of
vasculitis can also be triggered by chronic bacterial infections or viruses
such as HIV or hepatitis B and C. People with the autoimmune disorder lupus
also experience similar skin rashes as a result of their condition.
Recognizing the Symptoms of
vasculitis relates to blood vessel inflammation and damage. This inflammation
and damage causes the primary sign of vasculitis, the skin rash called
“palpable purpura” that may appear as several spots.
may appear purple or red and you’ll most likely find them on your legs,
buttocks, and torso. You might also develop blisters or hives on your skin.
Hives are potentially itchy bumps that appear on the skin as a result of an
common, symptoms and signs you might experience include:
lymph nodes (glands that help remove bacteria from the bloodstream)
inflammation (in rare cases)
interaction is the cause, symptoms typically appear within seven to 10 days of
exposure. Some people may experience symptoms as early as two days after taking
How Will I Be Diagnosed?
In order to
be diagnosed with hypersensitivity vasculitis, you must meet at least three of
the following criteria set forth by the American College of Rheumatology:
than 16 years of age
rash (palpable purpura or maculopapular)
used a drug before developing a skin rash
biopsy of your skin rash showing that you have white blood cells surrounding
your blood vessels
In order to
be diagnosed, your doctor will:
your symptoms and ask about drug and medication history
your medical history and perform a physical exam
a tissue sample, or biopsy, from your rash
the sample to a lab where it will be analyzed for evidence of inflammation
surrounding blood vessels
blood tests, such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), to measure the
degree of inflammation
and treatment will depend on the cause of your vasculitis, and if infection or
inflammation of other organs are present.
What Are My Treatment
There is no
cure for hypersensitivity vasculitis itself. The main goal of treatment will be
to relieve your symptoms.
Talk to your
doctor about the medications that you’re taking, as this information can help
determine the potential cause for your vasculitis. If your problem is traced
back to a medication that you are currently taking, the doctor will probably
advise you to stop taking it. However, you shouldn’t stop taking any
medications without your doctor’s recommendation. Your symptoms should go away
within a few weeks of stopping the offending medication.
and your doctor are working to pinpoint the cause of your vasculitis, you may
be prescribed an anti-inflammatory
medication. Anti-inflammatory medication will help relieve your inflamed
blood vessels. Aspirin is commonly used, though it’s not recommended for
children. Aspirin can increase a child’s risk for Reye’s syndrome.
medications fail to relieve symptoms, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are
drugs that suppress your immune system and reduce inflammation. Corticosteroids
do have a number of side effects like weight gain, sudden mood swings, and
acne, especially when taken for a long period of time.
doctor prescribes you corticosteroids, you will likely be given the lowest dose
possible. Talk to your doctor about whether corticosteroids are right for you.
the severity of your vasculitis, you may have some scarring as a result of your rashes. This is caused by
permanently damaged blood vessels.
In very rare
cases, inflammation of the kidneys can
occur in people with hypersensitivity vasculitis. This isn’t common, but
prolonged exposure to certain drugs or infections can affect kidney health.
Most people don’t notice symptoms of kidney inflammation. If the complications are
based on your symptoms or exposure to certain drugs, your doctor can diagnose
kidney problems by examining a urine sample for evidence of blood or protein in
possible for hypersensitivity vasculitis to come back if you are exposed to the
offending drug, infection, or foreign object. Avoiding your known allergens will
prevent you from having hypersensitivity vasculitis symptoms again.