Monday, February 24, 2014

Urticaria, Angelina Jolie and Me

Urticaria, also known as hives, is a common skin condition and according to the specialist I had consulted, it happens to 7 out of 10 people. But what's not so common for me is that I have been diagnosed with acute urticaria. The only bad news for me is that it may last me for many more months or even years to get it resolved.

Urticaria causes redness, itch and swelling to the skin. It varies in sizes and usually erupts in clusters or appears in a large patch on any part of the body.  If there are further swelling on the eyelids or lips, it is all together a different term - angioedema. Unfortunately, I have been experiencing both kinds.


Unglam photos of me with swollen lips on different occasions, which doesn't come down till night time or next morning. Initially, I experienced severe itch and swelling on my hands, palms, feet and fingers. The past few weeks however, it has affected basically any part of my body.
 
What causes it?

Causes of trigger for urticaria may include allergies to food, insect bites or medicines. However in my diagnosis, the specialist has ruled out allergies and pinpointed that acute urticaria is caused by a leftover viral infection that was not 100% cleared from my body. Thus the immune system tries to eradicate these viruses by releasing the histamine into the blood stream to fight it off, which causes the swelling.

How will it affect me?

It definitely has been a distressing time for the past 2 1/2 months, since the condition came on. It has caused me many sleepless nights as the breakout of urticaria usually happens when I am asleep. So I get very tired by mid-day especially when I have to take anti-histamines. However, I am thankful that it is somewhat in control as I've read that there are severe life threatening cases caused by breathing difficulty, since the swelling may occur in the tongue or throat. I'm also relieved that it is not a sign of any underlying medical conditions.
 
What can I do about it?

I can only wait for this to clear up with medication prescribed to me and go back to the specialist for further investigation if it still persists after 6 weeks. I am already on my fourth week of prescription but in my opinion, I am not experiencing any form of improvement yet. I am praying for a full recovery on this soon.

So what has Angelina Jolie got to do with me?


I'm not a fan of hers, really. But I think in my situation, this is as close I can get to having an itty bitty resemblance in the lip area. Yes? No? 

Though I dread having a break out of urticaria everyday, mopping around certainly will not help me recover any quicker. So I'm keeping the faith that I will have a complete recovery from this episode in no time. And preferably after the end of my 6th week medication, I will be back in form!
 

Till the next post, have a blessed week!

10 comments:

  1. Lol at the resemblance and connection with Ms Jolie!

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    1. hehehe... so you agree or don't agree? :p

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  2. sorry to hear about your allergy, hope u will be well soon..I know of some people who develop allergy that they never have in their life at a later age. maybe u want to keep track of the food u eat to see whether it is due to certain food ... these days, I don't take the docs advice at face value :) take care

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    1. Hey Haifang! Thanks for the note! I did suspect if it was food allergy but both my GP and the specialist I went to ruled that out because if it's food allergy, it will breakout within an hour or two after the consumption. Mine only happens when I'm asleep and lasts for a day before another cluster somewhere breaks out. I was told it could be the environment or stress related too but I'm not thinking too much into it.

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  3. Hi sorry to hear you're going through this.
    I had angioedema/urticaria after giving birth to my daughter and it lasted for 2 years. Unlike you, doctors couldn't pinpoint the cause of my condition, but only prescribed antihistamines which really distressed me as i was breastfeeding and worried about the impact on the milk i was feeding my daughter but i also hated the hazy state it put me in cos i was looking after my daughter fulltime without help and needed to be as awake and energetic as possible.
    then, after 2 years of torment, not knowing if i would be embarrassed while i was out by my lips puffing out like a pufferfish, the hives and swelling all disappeared one day! it sort of correlated to when i weaned my daughter from breastfeeding. i think maybe it had to do with hormones but the doctors of course didnt conclude anything.
    i hope your condition improves quickly. nobody knows when that will happen but take heart: it will go away.

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    1. Thank you for your comment! Happy for you that it was all an episode that you've had experienced. Shoo angioedema! I'm still having bouts of it every other day. Medication doesn't keep it down for more than 2 days and it's happening a lot more on the soles of my feet. It gets very distressing as it happens in the middle of the night usually. I'm going back to the doc's soon and hopefully get a proper analysis with a blood test. Take care!

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  4. Thank you! for posting your experience as I am going through exactly that now, my face swoll up just like yours in the middle of the night and it frightened me alot as I was afraid it may swell in my throat but luckily not! Now my hands, palms, ankles and soles of my feet are swollen and itchy! Every morning its somewhere new! I thought it may be pineapple I ate as it can be an allergen but the doctor said its very hard to pinpoint an allergic trigger and I dont fancy trying pineapple again to test my theory! Does anyone know of any natural remedies to reduce histamine?

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  5. Hi Adeline, have you recovered? Do you mind sharing the contacts of the specialist you consulted? My Husband is suffering from hives too. We like to consult a specialist too to find out the cause. Meanwhile he is using an old wives tale remedy- applying Chinese white rice wine when the hives come. It does help, so just to share here with everyone.

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    1. Hi Jasmine! Thanks for asking! Yes, I've completely recovered. I was referred to the National Skin Centre for consultation (no particular specialist) and was given a few cycles of medication to help with the condition. Though there isn't an exact cause that they could pinpoint on - though I very much believe that it is the environment or stress that the body was going through that caused it. It has not recurred since.

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    2. Hey Adeline, thank you very much for sharing!

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