Henoch-Schonlein purpura is a disease that involves purple spots on the skin, joint pain, gastrointestinal problems, and glomerulonephritis (a type of kidney disorder).
Anaphylactoid purpura; Vascular purpura
Henoch-Schonlein is caused by an abnormal response of the immune system. It is unclear why this occurs.
The syndrome is usually seen in children, but it may affect people of any age. It is more common in boys than in girls. Many people with Henoch-Schonlein purpura had an upper respiratory illness in the weeks before.
Exams and Tests
The doctor will examine your body and look at your skin. The physical exam will reveal skin sores (lesions) and joint tenderness.
Tests may include:
There is no specific treatment. Most cases go away on their own without treatment. If symptoms persist, your doctor may recommend therapy with corticosteroids such as prednisone.
The disease usually gets better on its own without treatment.
- Bleeding inside the body
- Kidney problems (in rare cases)
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
- You develop symptoms of Henoch-Schonlein purpura, particularly if they last for more than a few days
- You have low urine output after an episode of Henoch-Schonlein purpura
Miller ML, Pachman LM. Vasculitis syndromes. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 166.
Neil J. Gonter, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University, NY and private practice specializing in Rheumatology at Rheumatology Associates of North Jersey, Teaneck, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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