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Henoch-Schonlein Purpura

Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP) is a form of blood vessel inflammation that affects the small arterial vessels in the skin and oftentimes the kidneys. HSP begins abruptly with the sudden appearance of a purple-colored skin rash most prominent over the buttocks and behind the lower extremities. Clusters of new lesions may appear over several days to several weeks.

While Henoch-Schonlein Purpura is generally a mild illness that resolves suddenly, it can cause serious problems in the kidneys and bowels. Although recurrences of the disease are rare, they do occur.

Symptoms usually last about a month and include:

• Fever
• Arthritis
• Skin rash
• Kidney complications
• Blood or protein in the urine
• Swelling of the hands and feet
• Abdominal pain and tenderness
• Tenderness and swelling of the extremeties

HSP occurs most often in the spring and frequently follows an infection of the throat or breathing passages. HSP follows a pattern of an unusual reaction of the body’s immune system which is in response to this infection—either bacterial or viral.

Treatment options vary and mostly directed toward eliminating the symptoms. If you suspect you are suffering from HSP, see your doctor immediately.

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