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Thread: Allergic Reaction without an allergy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    British Columbia, Canada
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    Default Allergic Reaction without an allergy

    I have been getting symptoms similar to an allergic reaction: hives on my chest, rapid heart beat, itchy, tight chest and throat.

    I thought I was having some sort of allergy to something and took a Benadryl to be on the safe side. I listed off all that I ingestided and nothing was out of the ordinary at all, so I started looking into it.

    I don't know exactly how this works but apparently your Lupus body (that's what I call it because it has it's own language and does what it pleases) is tricking you, so-to-speak, into an allergic reaction you aren't really having.

    Has anyone experienced this before. Since the Benadryl didn't work, any other ideas?

    Itchy and want frustrated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Pacific Northwest
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    I don't think I've had what you are having, but my skin does get itchy, and then breaks out when I scratch only heart issues are when I'm taking high doses of PRednisone.....

    Sorry to not be of help - hopefully somebody out there knows something!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Sunrise, FL
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    Default hives etc

    yes i've had hives- seems to be food related for me. i would get them for a while if i ate eggs or shrimp, a few hours later.
    if benadryl doesn't help... maybe a cream? not steroid cream though if you can avoid it. aloe or vit E?
    Professional Smart Aleck
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Victorville, California
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    Hi JenHa:
    What you are experiencing is rather common for Lupus Patients. 10% of lupus patients will develop hives at some point in the course of their disease. This is one of the few skin rashes of lupus that itch. Most cases are related to coincidental allergic reactions, but an uncommon form of lupus may be associated with 'lupus urticaria'.
    Most of these patients have deficiencies in certain blood complement components. Urticaria is an allergic skin rash sometimes called 'nettle rash' or hives.There are two distinct types: Acute urticariais often caused by an allergy and can last between several hours and six weeks.
    Chronic urticaria is diagnosed if the rash persists for six weeks or longer.
    The cause of chronic urticaria is much more difficult to identify. It often ends up being diagnosed as chronic idiopathic urticaria - which means the cause is unknown! Certain parasitic infections, blood pressure drugs or stress may trigger it. Chronic urticaria can also be triggered by physical factors such as exposure to heat, cold, sunlight, vibration or pressure on the skin. Some people have such sensitive skin that any rubbing will cause raised red lines to develop called dermatographism. Underlying thyroid disease, cancer or autoimmune disease such as lupus can provoke urticaria. Occasionally an inherited deficiency of the C1 esterase inhibitor enzyme leads to a non-itchy form of urticaria and swelling called hereditary angioedema.
    The rash consists of a number of raised bumpy weals surrounded by red skin. It tends to move about or migrate around on the body.
    In chronic cases, the itchiness may cause sleepless nights and lead to depression. The condition tends to settle and then suddenly relapse again with co-existent viral illnesses, stress and aspirin containing medication or with an underlying immune disease such as Lupus. This chronic pattern may recur for up to three years! Chronic urticaria is not life-threatening. For people who have it, though, it can cause distress and disability.
    Chronic urticaria occurs in both sexes but seems to be somewhat more common in middle-aged women. About 30 percent of adults with chronic urticaria also have angioedema. Areas of widely spread swelling occur, and most often affect the lips or eyelids.Hives (uticaria) are an allergic-like reaction of the skin to a usually harmless substance. Acute cases of hives can be triggered by any number of substances. Common causes are medications, foods, insect bites or stings.
    The cause of chronic urticaria is often hard to pinpoint. Although the cause is currently unknown, it is thought to be related to a person's own immune system triggering the reaction.
    Some types of chronic urticaria worsen with increased blood flow as a result of heat, exertion, emotional stress, alcoholic drinks, fever or hyperthyroidism. Increases in hives are fairly common during premenstrual periods as well. Some people get pressure urticaria on certain parts of the body as a result of the work they do. People who sit all day can get hives on their buttocks. When people wear their belts too tight, they can get pressure urticaria around the waist.
    People with cholinergic urticaria get hives with heat, exercise or emotional stress. Small welts appear within a larger area of redness, often on the neck or upper chest.
    For those who get angioedema, it usually affects only the lips or eyelids. In rare cases, though, it can affect the throat. People who have trouble swallowing or breathing should seek emergency care promptly.
    Diagnosis begins with a careful medical history and physical exam. Your doctor will check first to make sure chronic hives are not a symptom of a more serious illness such as hepatitis or hyperthyroidism.
    A few patients with chronic hives have urticarial vasculitis. Small blood vessels in the skin are inflamed. The hives don't itch quite as much, but they last longer, the area stays red after the hives are gone, and the patient may have aching joints or fever. These symptoms are generally the ones present with systemic lupus erythematosus.

    Most people now use nonsedating antihistamines: astemizole (Hismanal), loratadine (Claritin), fexofenadine (Allegra) and certirizine (Zyrtec). They block what are called H1 receptors in tissue. If these medications don't help, the antihistamines cimetidine or ranitidine may be added; they block H2 receptors. The combination of the types of blockers sometimes provides better relief. Treatment must be individualized and monitored under close medical supervision, especially for Lupus patients.
    Most Lupus patients use prednisone to control the urticaria.
    For more severe urticaria, the more potent antihistamines, hydroxyzine and doxepin, may be used. They do cause drowsiness and other side effects, but the side effects lessen with continued use.
    Epinephrine injections may be given for people with angioedema, especially when the throat is swollen.
    Much research on urticaria is underway, especially as it relates to Lupus Patients. This will lead to even better treatment in the future. Several new drugs are awaiting approval for use in the United States to treat hives (urticaria). They act on different skin cells or block mediators other than histamine and will offer another choice for people who get poor relief from current products.
    I hope that this information has been helpful to you. At the very least, to let you know that you are not alone and that your symptoms are real!!
    Keep Us Posted
    Peace and Blessings

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