Note that it was hard to find decent information on this condition, and even harder to decypher the medical terms and crazy biology words. I did my best. Feel free to bring any extra info or discrepancies you might find to my attention. I don't bite, usually.

A disease that dates back to the 1800's, as far as any documentation is concerned. It is, unfortunately, not too entirely rare though few people are aware of its existence. It would appear, after searching for some time to find information pertaining to this condition, and reading through case studies and personal accounts, that there are numerous people in the medical profession who aren't even aware of proper treatments for inflicted persons. Generally, the disease occurs in young children, but has been known to appear in adults as well.

There has been a considerable amount of research done to try and find the origin, that is to say causes of this disease, but nothing specific has been isolated as a direct link. There have been studies that suggest large deposits of IgA in vessel walls may cause inflammation and lead to hsp.

Henoch-Schonlein Purpura effects various parts of the body, internal and external, and is most easily diagnosed by a (hideous looking, I mean, really) rash that generally covers the lower extremities. It can, however, spread to wrists and arms. The rash appears initially around the ankles and is a somewhat circular series of lesions, though they're quite blotchy. In younger children (mainly three years and under), the rash may appear as more of a large bruised area, especially around the scalp. It is also characterized by extreme pain in joints, so much so that those suffering may not be able to walk (weakness is also a problem). The joints most often effected are the knees, and ankles, and not so often the wrists or fingers.

Treatment for this disease is very limited. They sometimes use certain types of steroids to try and lessen joint pain and swelling, but a lot of what's done is just attempting to keep the patient as comfortable as possible. Plasma exchange has had limited effectiveness but has not been widely tested. They're still, of course, trying to find other methods to aid in recovery.

The greatest risks involved are renal failure, and other internal issues. Bloody urine or stool is often associated, and though less frequently, vomitting blood is also a possibility. The blood is most often the result of hemorrhaging in the digestive track. Hospitalization is most often required at least for a time, but the disease is generally not fatal in itself, but can cause serious health concerns. There can be permanent damage, and is in many cases, but not all. Therapy is often necessary to regain full use of joints. It can last for as briefly as two weeks or even more than a month, but most make near complete recoveries.

Things to watch for after recovery include an incidence of kidney disease and other kidney related issues as many as ten years down the road. Another problem that can arise later on is hypertension.

See also: vasculitis.