Purpura Rash And Understanding HSP

Published: 29th June 2011
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A purpura rash is generally a sign of an underlying medical problem which affects the body’s blood vessels. It is sometimes known as "blood spots." It’s characterized by small, bloody lesions which look like measles spots. These appear all over the body, most often on the extremities. .

It may occur in individuals who have a significantly low platelet level. Since platelets help strengthen the body’s capillary lining and aid clotting process, purpura is an indication that the platelet system is deficient. Thus, low platelet levels can result in excessive bleeding of the blood vessels inside the skin. Damaged blood vessels can also result in bleeding. Basically, any sort of inflammation of the blood vessels can cause a purpura rash.

Purpura rash is not a disease itself, but a symptom. It occurs when blood vessels to get inflamed. This condition is called vasculitis, and usually occurs in the capillaries, the small blood vessels in the skin. Vasculitis can also occur in other parts of the body, such as the blood vessels in the kidneys or in the bowel. The inflamed blood vessels bleed into the skin, causing a purpuric rash.

A number of medical conditions include purpuric rashes as one of its symptoms. The most common medical condition connected with purpura is Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP). This is a disease of the small blood vessels, causing them to flare up and bleed. It is often accompanied by abdominal pain. Other diseases which have purpuric rashes as a side effect include leukemia and meningitis.

A person with Henoch-Scholein may experience the rashes for as long as the illness lasts, which is about four to six weeks. During this time, the purpuric rash begins as red bumps, then becomes purple before clotting. In the case of other illnesses such as leukemia, meningitis, or another condition that affects clotting of the blood, the rash can last for as long as a person has a condition or experiences flare ups.

Since a purpuric rash is not a disease in itself, a patient can expect the rashes to fade without a particular treatment. However, pain relief medications may be taken to help relieve any aches and pains caused by Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP). Paracetamol may be prescribed, or prednisolone, which is a type of steroidal medication administered to those who have severe stomach pains and joint pains.

If a patient with purpuric rashes suffers from other symptoms such as bloody stools, bloody urine, kidney or intestinal trouble, then tests must be done to see if the problem can progress to something more serious. Usually about 20 to 50 percent of young children with HSP develop some kind of kidney problem, but less than one percent actually end up with kidney failure.

Read more about Purpura Rash and common Itchy Skin Rashes

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