Bullous Pemphigoid

Bullous pemphigoid is a rare, albeit chronic skin disorder, which is identified by its fluid-filled, large blisters on the skin.Though it can affect anyone, it is more common among the aged population.Bullous pemphigoid is caused as part of an unusual response of the immune system against the tissues of the thin layer present beneath the skin. The possible reasons for such malfunctioning of the immune system are unknown.

Immunosuppressant drugs which suppress the activities of immune system can treat bullous pemphigoid and also eliminate the symptoms. The intake of such drugs has to be monitored carefully as they have several side effects. The side effects are not fatal except in the older people with poor immune system,or in those elderly individuals who are experiencing general failing health.

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Symptoms of bullous pemphigoid

Bullous pemphigoid is known by the primary symptoms of bullae having the following features:

  • The blisters are normally bigger in size, fluid-filled, and usually do not break after application of pressure
  • The blister may come up on any portion of the body, but normally it appears over the inner portions of the joint folds, or on the skin creases. It is more common on inner thighs, arms, abdomen and the groin.
  • The appearance of the surrounding skin tends to be normal, but with elicits a little darker shade on dark skin, while it tends to appear reddish on lighter skin.
  • Normally, the blister fluids look clear but sometimesmay contain blood
  • A punctured blister spot can often be painful and increasingly tender

The other possible signs of bullous pemphigoid are listed below:

  • The affected skin portion may experience itchiness or irritability
  • Sores or hives may form in the mouth. Sometimes, the surrounding mucous membranes may also get affected by the blisters.
  • Before taking the form of a blister, the condition may elicit a type of inflamed dark or reddish elevated hives over the skin. In some cases, only the hives may be present

Bullous pemphigoid does lead to health complications, except in the elderly and people with ill-health.

  • The daily life of an affected person is made difficult due to constant itching and blister pain.
  • Affected people may also suffer from bacterial infectionsof the ruptured blisters, and spread of such infection to other parts of the body.
  • There may be discomfort in daily activities such as sleeping, upkeep of personal hygiene, eating, drinking,and dressing-up. Larger are the sores bigger is the discomfort.
  • Patients may also have tolive with the agony of horrifying skin appearance, which in turn can lead to social and psychological problems.

Causes of bullous pemphigoid

Bullous Pemphigoid is caused mainly due to the malfunctioning of the immune system. But the reason for the failure of the immune system is not known.

To fight the bad effects of viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microorganisms, the immune system of the body continuously produces antibodies. But for unknown reasons the immune system erroneously develops antibodies for certain tissues of the body. The epidermis is a thin layer of fiber tissues of skin which connect the dermis and the inner layer of the skin. Creation of incorrect antibodies over such tissues results in the formation of hives, blisters, and itching markedly linked to bullous pemphigoid.

The exact causes and factors that induce the malfunctioning of the immune system is not known. However the connected studies show that the following factors may also contribute as triggers of the condition:

  • The intake of drugs which are prescribed for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Radiation therapy for cancer treatment
  • Ultraviolet light therapy for treating certain skin disorders and certain inflammatory conditions.

People above the age of sixty years are vulnerable to bullous pemphigoid, as compared to younger individuals. People above eighty years are at an even greater risk of developing bullous pemphigoid.

Treatment of bullous pemphigoid

The treatment for bullous pemphigoid primarily involves elimination of the symptoms, itchiness, as well as repair and healing of damaged skin cells. The treatment may need to be continued for several years.

The following medications are prescribed to treat cases of bullous pemphigoid:

  • Corticosteroids: This medicine can be taken orally, or it can also be applied over the blisters directly. Continuous use of this drug may have many side effects, such as diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure, cataracts, weak bones, high cholesterol, and other complications. Long-term and continuous use of corticosteroids in the topical form can cause thinning of skin. It may also trigger the onset of other skin disorders.
  • Immunosuppressant drugs:  They stop the functioning of the immune system that produce the antibodies. It can be taken along with corticosteroids for more effective treatment of bullous pemphigoid and its symptoms. It also reduces the risks associated with corticosteroids use.
  • The medical practitioner may also prescribe other medicines as warranted by the condition,including drugs such as dapsone, tetracycline, nicotinamide, methotrexate etc. for treating bullous pemphigoid.

Bullous pemphigoid pictures

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One Response to "Bullous Pemphigoid"

  1. Villa says:

    I was a keen cyclist, malniy mountain biking but have also had to deal with a genetic skin condition called Haley Haley Disease. It’s incurable and limits my days to measured activity. Because I cant cycle anymore I’ve taken to restoring vintage cycles. Well I have a few under way. I became inspired from a recent visit to Amsterdam. The locals malniy use fixed speed coasters’. Amsterdam relegates the automobile to second place. I saw many elderly people cycling through the old canal quarter.

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