HSP Complications – HSP purpura, or Henoch-Schönlein purpura, is a condition that results when the immune system attacks healthy tissue. This can cause inflammation and damage to the blood vessels, which can lead to bruising and bleeding. HSP disorder is most common in children, but it can occur in adults as well. There is no cure for HSP disorder, but the condition may be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.
If an individual or their child has HSP purpura, it is important to see a doctor so that the condition may be properly monitored and treated. There is no need to worry if HSP purpura is caught early and treated properly. With proper care, most people with HSP purpura can live normal, healthy lives.
HSP Purpura Symptoms
The symptoms of HSP purpura can vary from person to person, and HSP in adults sometimes differs from children. The most common symptoms often include:
- Rash (purpura). Reddish-purple spots that look like bruises. These bruises commonly develop in the ankles, feet, and buttocks. The rash may also appear on the trunk, face, and arms and can become worse in areas of pressure, such as the sock line and waistline where tight clothing or elastic bands are commonly worn.
- Swollen, sore joints (arthritis). People with Henoch-Schönlein in purpura often have pain and swelling in the knees, ankles, and other joints. Joint pain sometimes happens before the tell-tale rash appears after a couple of weeks. These symptoms tend to lessen when the disease clears and leave no lasting damage.
- Digestive tract symptoms. A lot of children with HSP disorder develop stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and bloody stools. These symptoms occasionally happen before the rash appears.
- Kidney involvement. HSP in adults may also affect the kidneys. In many cases, this shows up as protein or blood in the urine, which an individual may not even notice unless they have a urine test done. This usually subsides once the illness passes, but some people develop continuous kidney diseases.
- Bruising easily
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
HSP Disorder Diagnosis
There is no definitive test for HSP disorder. A doctor will usually make a diagnosis based on a person's symptoms and medical history. Some tests that may be used to help diagnose HSP purpura include:
- A blood test to check for certain antibodies that are associated with HSP purpura
- A urine test to look for blood or protein in the urine
- An ultrasound to look for signs of inflammation or damage to the blood vessels
- A chest X-ray to check for possible lung problems caused by HSP purpura
If HSP purpura is suspected, it is important to see a doctor right away. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the risk of long-term health problems.
Most people with HSP purpura have a mild case and recover completely within a few weeks, with no long-term problems. In some cases, HSP purpura can lead to complications, such as:
- Arthritis: Joint pain is a common symptom of HSP disorder, but in some cases, arthritis may persist even after the HSP purpura has cleared.
- Kidney problems: HSP purpura can sometimes cause kidney damage. In severe cases, this may lead to kidney failure.
- Lung difficulties: HSP disorder can also cause inflammation in the lungs, which can lead to difficulty breathing.
- Intestinal bleeding: HSP purpura can sometimes cause bleeding in the intestines. This can lead to bloody stools and, in severe cases, anemia.
- Skin issues: HSP disorder can sometimes cause permanent scarring or changes in skin color.
Treating HSP Purpura
There is no cure for HSP disorder, but the condition can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. The goal of HSP purpura treatment is to relieve symptoms and prevent complications.
Depending on the severity of HSP purpura, a doctor may recommend one or more of the following medications:
- Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), can help relieve pain and inflammation.
- Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are powerful anti-inflammatory medications that can help reduce swelling and pain.
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines, such as Benadryl, can help relieve itching.
- Plasmapheresis: This is a treatment that involves filtering the blood to remove harmful antibodies. It is usually only used in severe cases of HSP purpura.