Autoimmune urticaria – causes, symptoms, treatment

krapivnitsa - 3Each of us knows about an allergy called urticaria. However, she makes a numerous list of diseases, which, as the main symptom, have red rashes on the skin, accompanied by itching.

The affected area of ​​the body can be very different: from a few centimeters to large areas and affect various parts of the human body.

Urticaria (the scientific name for urticaria) can be acute. Then the coverage area is quite large, and there is also unbearable itching and other side symptoms, which we will discuss later.

The acute form lasts no more than 10 – 15 days.

Also, medicine is known for chronic allergies, which can bother a patient from several weeks to three to five years! Sometimes remission can occur, when all the symptoms seem to disappear, but when irritating factors appear, the disease can return again.

Based on the nature of the redness, doctors distinguish between recurrent urticaria (when there is a constant change of outbreaks and relapses) and peristatic (when a rash is constantly present on the skin, a new one replaces the old one).

Often, the chronic form may indicate the presence of chronic diseases. It can be various infectious, systemic, autoimmune ailments. But quite often, doctors cannot establish the cause of the allergy.

In this regard, many theories have been developed about the causes of the appearance of urticaria. One of these is called a malfunction of the immune system due to the experience of stress. Many people, turning to a doctor with such a diagnosis, note a stressful condition, a change of residence, a viral disease, or taking medications.

Chronic urticaria is characterized by recurring symptoms at a certain time, for example, with the arrival of cold weather, or during the onset of menstruation in women.

In order for the result of treatment to be immediate, it is necessary to correctly establish the factor that provoked the rash and the cause of their occurrence.

Causes

Causes that can cause hives:

  • Infectious diseases occurring in 10-20% of cases. Diseases can be of viral, parasitic, bacterial origin, for example, helminthic infestations,
  • Autoimmune allergy (in 40 – 60% of the total number of diseases),
  • Medicinal urticaria. It occurs as a result of taking medications with a frequency of 3-5%,
  • Reaction to certain foods (5-7%),
  • Physical urticaria, which occurs under the influence of external factors such as cold, friction, ultraviolet rays, contact with woolen fabrics and others (20-30%),
  • Ideopathic urticaria, which appears against the background of hormonal changes (up to 90% of all urticaria diseases).

Main symptoms

As a rule, the external manifestations of autoimmune urticaria are quite pronounced. First, small watery blisters appear on the skin. Their occurrence is accompanied by severe itching. Second, if a physical irritant continues to affect the affected area of ​​the body, then the rash can form red tumors that have clear edges.

Also, in addition to itching, sometimes there is a tingling sensation. Thirdly, the destruction of the epidermis can reach such a stage when cracks form at the site of the swelling, which subsequently begin to bleed. Such symptoms indicate an advanced stage of chronic allergy.

Medical research by scientists has shown that urticaria develops as a result of the activation in the blood of substances that form a chronic infection. The above factors (cold, unhealthy diet, stress, etc.) can only aggravate the situation and give an impetus to the development of an allergic reaction.

So, chronic urticaria in most cases develops against the background of a permanent infectious disease in the body. In children, these symptoms can signal the diagnosis of helminthiasis.

Stages of rash development

As mentioned earlier, the successful result of treatment depends on the correct determination of the factors for the development of urticaria, the reasons for its appearance.

Let’s consider the main order of appearance of the rash:

  • The inflammatory process arises most often in the digestive tract, less often in the teeth, nasopharynx and reproductive system. This focus of inflammation serves as the progenitor of biologically active microorganisms that enhance the body’s sensitivity to various external factors and released neuroactive substances.
  • When an irritating element (drugs, sunlight, etc.) begins to actively affect a person, mast cells release histamine from connective tissue, causing a rash on the skin.

It has been proven that in some cases colorants or preservatives in food can be such an irritating factor. Therefore, the first point in the doctor’s recommendations for patients with chronic urticaria is the exclusion of unnatural products.

Delicacies such as citrus, raspberries, strawberries, cocoa and chocolate-based desserts are also at risk.

Among the drugs, urticaria is caused by nefedilin, anti-inflammatory nonsteroids and a wide range of antibiotics. The most aggressive of all non-steroids, as they themselves increase the risk of allergies, and can also lead to bronchospasm.

In addition to the rash, the allergy sufferer may experience fatigue, headaches, mild fever, and nausea and poor sleep.

The appearance of autoimmune urticaria can be triggered by disruptions in the body’s immune responses.

The course of the disease is allergic or pseudo-allergic.

  • The allergic type is characterized by the destruction of skin tissues under the influence of mast cells, which is formed by the body through the production of antibodies. The more intense the effect of the irritating factor, the more pronounced tissue edema. After the rash disappears, it is necessary to act on the skin again in order to understand whether antibodies are still in the body. If the reaction recurs, treatment should be continued,
  • The pseudoallergic form differs in that the irritating factor acts directly on the cell membrane, destroying its previous form and releasing histamine. It is important that this does not affect the severity of the disease.

Diagnosis of the disease

The diagnosis of this disease during the period of remission is of great difficulty. Because of the mild symptoms, it is quite difficult to determine the presence of an allergy. Therefore, you should consult a doctor precisely during the period of exacerbation of the rash.

However, it is possible to identify urticaria when detailed data on the strength of the reaction, irritation factors and the duration of the allergy are available.

The most important thing in medical therapy is the choice of treatment method. If the doctor correctly establishes the factor of urticaria, then a big step will be taken on the path to recovery. For this, the patient needs to undergo a series of tests and diagnostics.

Three-step system for the diagnosis of autoimmune urticaria

  • The stage of clarifying the anamnesis, collecting information to fill out the medical history and collecting primary samples. These include: screening for the presence of congenital atopy (in other words, hereditary allergy to wool, plants, dust, etc.), a test for the presence of external physical factors, skin biopsy (if necessary), immunofluorescence analysis for the presence of immunoglobulins in the body.
  • The stage of determining the causes of the activation of allergies, as well as determining the type: chronic or single,
  • Food sample stage. The purpose of this stage is to exclude an allergic reaction to the components that make up the products. For such purposes, a two-stage diet is used.

It should be noted that sometimes the doctor fails to identify the causes of irritation. In such cases, it is referred to as idiopathic urticaria.

Therapeutic and preventive methods

Treatment of chronic urticaria can take a long time – up to six months. The task of the doctor is to draw up a plan of therapeutic manipulations, based on the results of observations in the specific case of each patient.

Stages of treatment for chronic urticaria:

  • The cause of the rash is established and eliminated
  • If severe edema is present, symptoms are relieved
  • The method of treatment is selected individually to prevent recurrence of allergies
  • A recommendatory list of measures for the prevention of urticaria is compiled. This may include using medicated ointments, diet, and avoiding physical irritants.

What drugs are used to treat autoimmune urticaria?

If the diagnosis of chronic urticaria is confirmed, there is no need to give up. Of course, the treatment of this ailment will take a long time (from a month to six months). There may also be cases of allergy recurrence. But do not despair, because if the cause of the appearance of irritation is found, then the doctor will be able to choose the necessary medications to bring the body back to normal.

Features of the treatment of autoimmune urticaria does not differ from the treatment of idiopathic allergies and consists of the following steps:

  • Establishing the causes of urticaria and eliminating them with medication
  • Taking antihistamines and glucocorticosteroid drugs
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to prevent itching and tingling.
  • Therapy aimed at the origin of urticaria by treatment with antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial drugs (depending on the cause of the rash)
  • Disease prevention (adherence to diet, protection from physical pathogens of allergies, stress, etc.)

In the case when the above treatment does not give positive changes, the patient is prescribed the following drugs:

  • Plasma exchange
  • Immunoglobulin
  • Cyclosporine – A

These drugs minimize the activity of autoimmune cells by preventing the body from releasing histamine, and they also form antibodies that fight the progression of urticaria.

Autoimmune urticaria is a common type of chronic allergy. The reasons for its appearance can be different: disturbances in the functioning of the immune system, gastrointestinal tract, organs of the reproductive system, nasopharynx and teeth.

Also, the appearance of a rash can be provoked by external stimuli: cold, sun rays, friction, contact with woolen fabrics. Hives can also appear after taking medications, eating poor-quality foods, as well as stress, changing residence and on certain days of the menstrual cycle in women. As you can see, the list of reasons is quite wide.

Treatment for autoimmune urticaria can take up to six months, but the result is worth it! Treat your health with trepidation, if symptoms similar to chronic urticaria appear, you should visit your doctor’s office.

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Tatyana Jakowenko

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.

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