What is HSP?

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What is HSP?

HSP or Henoch-Schonlein purpura is a systemic disease characterized with a type of skin rash that commonly affects children.  Specifically, this disease affects the small blood vessels of the skin causing inflammation or vasculitis.  The skin lesions usually occur along with arthritic symptoms and are commonly found in the buttocks area and the rest of the lower extremities.  In other cases, other organs and parts of the body may also be affected including the abdomen and the kidneys. Henoch-Schonlein purpura may also be referred to as anaphylactic purpura or purpura rheumatica because of joint involvement.

An infection of the pharynx or any part of the breathing passage is a common preceding condition of HSP but others factors such as drugs could also be involved in causing the disease.  HSP is said to occur mostly in children but may also affect adults.  This disease may be noticed at first with the classic skin rashes that are more prominent in the lower extremities. It is also common for the affected persons to have inflammation in their joints particularly their knees and ankles.  Some patients will present with hyperthermia while others will develop vasculitis in the kidneys.

Signs and symptoms typically appear over a month-long period but prognosis for this disease is considered very good by many doctors.  Although some people may develop vasculitis in their kidneys, it is quite rare that their condition becomes long-term and life-threatening.  The only major concern about HSP is that symptoms may recur in a 1 year period.  This is especially true with the skin rashes.

Treatment of HSP depends on the symptoms presented by the patient.  As for the joint involvement, most people are given analgesics to combat the pain caused by inflammation.  Steroids may also be prescribed depending on the severity of the kidney involvement.  In rare cases, injection of immunoglobulins may be deemed necessary.

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