Idiopathic Hives - The Real Facts
The formal medical name for hives is urticaria. This condition is caused by an allergic reaction in the majority of
cases, but it is also possible for it to be a symptom of another diseases.
The hives can be best described as reddish swollen bumps that appear on the skin usually quite suddenly and
quickly. These plaques can be itching, stinging and even painful and can appear on a variety of different areas on
Apart from the skin these can also affect the lips, tongue and throat as well as the ears. When hives are caused by
an allergic reaction they normally show on the spots that have been affected by the allergen, but when the reason
is different the area of appearance cannot be predicted with certainty. Read on to find out more about the
essential aspects of hives.
The sizes of the hive bumps varies dramatically - some can be as large as plates while others are extremely small
not bigger than the head of a pin. In many cases the hives join together to form larger spots known as plaques. The
severity and persistency of the condition also varies from one sufferer to another.
The hives may disappear after an hour or within a day or can take a considerably longer time to go away. This
condition is not to be mistaken with the similar one known as angioedema. In the case of urticaria the swelling
occurs in the top layer of the epidermis while in the case of angioedema it affects the deeper layers.
Still, the underlying causes of both conditions can be the same - an allergic reaction or a symptom of another
unknown disease. In all cases the swelling occurs due to the release of histamine by the body.
This substance is produced in cells that are found near the blood vessels of the skin and actually makes them
swollen, which in turn affects the entire surrounding area. Blood plasma leaks out from the vessels to the skin.
Both the hives and the angioedema are not generally dangerous, but when a swelling of the tongue and throat occurs
the situation can easily become life threatening.
The two different types of hives may have different diagnosed reasons. The acute hives last less then six weeks and
are treated with antihistamine medications while the chronic ones that remain longer than this period and appear
frequently may require further treatment as they can be caused by a more serious medical