Did you know that 80 percent of Lupus patients have some sort of skin involvement? Of those, 10 percent suffer from hives. Yes, those itchy, red, hot welts that drive even the most sane of us crazy.
In healthy people, hives usually pop up on the skin in response to an allergy. They’ll typically last a few hours to run their course, then they go away.
In Lupus patients, hives tend to last longer than 24 hours and are usually quite large. Hives in Lupus are called autoimmune hives, and they can flare up and worsen with UV exposure as well as heat exposure. Sometimes they linger for days and begin to transition from welts to bruised areas with dark red, purple, and blue patches where the hives were.
When autoimmune hives change to more bruise-like appearance, doctors will have to rule out a condition known as urticarial vasculitis. This is when the inflammation is so bad that it infiltrates the blood vessels in the skin, causing them to leak. The only way to know if your autoimmune hives from Lupus are urticarial vasculitis is to have a biopsy. There’s also a blood test to confirm a diagnosis as well.
I recently had a biopsy on one of many hives I’ve gotten this summer. (Read more about that here.)
Thankfully, urticarial vasculitis was ruled out.
Have you experienced autoimmune hives or urticarial vasculitis? Please share your story in the Comments below. The more we share about our experience with Lupus, the more we know—together….