Chronic Hives - linked to autoimmune?
This is my first time on this site, and I'm so glad I found it!
I'm hoping someone can help me, or if my symptoms sound familiar to anyone...For the past 4 months, I've had Chronic hives (everyday). It consists of widespread burning rashes, and huge delayed pressure hives which hurt more than itch and leave bruises on my skin. I have also noticed that I am experiencing muscle and joint pain when I'm overtired and or stressed. In the past two months, I've also started to experience chest/lung pain, although I am technically not having trouble breathing, my chest just feels constricted. I'm also very tired, I fall asleep on the couch at 8pm almost everynight. My allergist says I'm not allergic to anything (did all the tests, twice!), and she thinks it's possibly autoimmune. I'm currenlty on three different antihistimines (with very little relief) and am on Plaquenil as well.
I've been to allergists and endrocrinologists in the past for a multitude of different problems. I've had three seperate Chronic hive outbreaks prior to this one (when I was 16, 18, 23...I'm 31 now) which each lasted about 6 months. I've also been tested for tyroid, pituitary and adrenal functionality, as my cortisol levels have always tested incredibly high.
Doctors have never given me a diagnosis or been able to say anything other than "it seems to be autoimmune". I've had ANA tests (negative), and tyroid tests (normal) and I'm now waiting for the results of a skin biopsy. This outbreak is so painful, I can barely stand to go to work. I can't wear anything without an elastic waist because it gives me hives. Severly limits office appropriate dress!
Does this sound familiar to anyone? Please help!
Re: Chronic Hives - linked to autoimmune?
It sure does. With the hives, joint pains, chest pain and fatigue, you could have lupus, an autoimmune disorder that affects primarily young women. I would get the ANA repeated and see a rheumatologist who can do several other tests looking for clues. Unfortunately, symptoms of autoimmune diseases can precede the lab confirmation by several months to years, so some people get stuck in the no-man's land of an unidentified chronic illness until it declares itself completely. If symptoms continue, I would get the new SLE test that is available called AVISE-SLE. It is more sensitive than the standard ANA test and may show something when the standard test does not. You can ask your Dr's office to order it for you or many rheumatology offices have the test kits now. It is possible your skin biopsy may provide some answers as well. Someone has already put you on the first line treatment for lupus, Placquenil, which takes 2-3 months to build up and noticeably help symptoms. Good luck with nailing this down.
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