Hives: Causes of the problem
Hives and angioedema are reaction patterns of the skin which are characterized by itching in the case of the hives and swelling of the lips and eyelids in the case of angioedema. The urticaria, an alternative name for hives, comes from the Latin word meaning nettle Urtica and refers to that process that causes intense skin itching or burning sensation and is accompanied by hives lesions throughout the skin surface and sometimes also in mucous membranes. This is due to increased permeability of dermal vessels by substances or mediators released by cells called mast cells and basophils. The characteristic of this process is that the lesions tend to disappear within hours.
Anyone can develop this condition and it affects both sexes equally. More rarely the elderly and children may be affected. The stimuli that cause this disease are multiple immunological mechanisms (related to the immune system or defense) and not immune. Among the principal agents of hives include:
- Food: Eggs, milk, chocolate, fish, shellfish, tomatoes, pork, strawberries, spices and yeast
- Airborne allergens: pollen, spores, house dust
- Insect Bites and Stings: Bees, wasps
- Infections: Hepatitis, EBV, helminth infections, hydatidosis
- Physical factors: cold, heat, pressure, UV radiation and water
- Systemic diseases: SLE, polycythemia vera, hyperthyroidism, pregnancy, menstruation, bone and dental prostheses.
- Neoplasms: Colon, rectum, lung and lymphoma
- Genetic alterations: Deficit of C1 inhibitor
- Psychological factors
However, up to fifty percent of cases cannot identify a clear trigger. In chronic hives the most common cause is idiopathic or unknown. Among kids, the hives are most commonly associated with respiratory infections or food.
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