What is Bullous Pemphigoid?

Bullous Pemphigoid

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Fibromyalgia can lead to a lot of complications that you might not expect. And one of the most common kinds of complications is skin issues. For instance, have you ever heard of bullous pemphigoid? It’s a condition that results in painful, chronic blistering under the skin. And if left untreated, it can even be fatal.

So what exactly is bullous pemphigoid? Why is it linked to fibromyalgia? And what can you do to treat it?

What Is Bullous Pemphigoid?

Bullous pemphigoid is a skin condition that causes widespread blisters all over your body. It’s caused by an underlying autoimmune condition where your body’s immune system begins attacking the skin. As antibodies produced by your blood cells begin attacking your skin, the underlying tissue becomes damaged and inflamed. This causes your body to begin forming large, fluid-filled blisters. Most commonly, these blisters form in the armpit or other areas where the body flexes.

Pemphigoid can present in a variety of ways, which can make it difficult to identify. In the general form, the blisters form in a number of places all over the body. This is the most common variety. But the disease can also attack the mucous membranes in the mouth or eyes, which leads to blistering in that tissue.

In some cases, particularly in people who are older or in poor health, the inflammation this disease causes can be fatal if untreated after it attacks vital organs like the heart or kidneys.

We don’t yet understand why people develop this kind of autoimmune condition. But most scientists believe that genetics play a central role. And certain medications can also cause an otherwise healthy person to develop bullous pemphigoid.

In addition, people with fibromyalgia seem to be particularly susceptible to developing this condition.

Why Is It Linked To Fibromyalgia?

We know that people with fibromyalgia are at a higher risk of developing autoimmune diseases. Many autoimmune conditions also cause symptoms that are very similar to the symptoms of fibromyalgia like chronic pain and fatigue. And for many years, doctors suspected that fibromyalgia itself may actually be a form of autoimmune disease. But as we’ve learned more about the condition, we’ve seen a number of things that suggest that this isn’t the case.

For instance, people with fibromyalgia don’t have higher levels of antibodies in the blood, which is common in almost everyone with an autoimmune condition. In fact, this elevated antibody level is typically the way that autoimmune conditions are diagnosed.

Secondly, people with fibromyalgia don’t have the type of tissue inflammation that is typical of autoimmune conditions.

But if fibromyalgia isn’t an autoimmune condition, how can we explain the fact that they are more susceptible to them?

Well, the root of the connection might actually lie in the brain. We know that people with fibromyalgia tend to deal with serious stress and depression for the obvious reason that they suffer from a terrible, chronic disease. But that sort of persistent stress can actually make you more vulnerable to developing an autoimmune condition. We don’t yet understand why this is the case, but we do know that the link is very real.

That’s why finding a way to cope with the depression of fibromyalgia and maintain mental wellness is so important. Not only can it improve your overall quality of life, but it can prevent you from developing other conditions. But if you are already suffering from a condition like pemphigoid, there are things you can do to treat it.

How Can You Treat It?

Pemphigoid treatments are very similar to the treatments for other autoimmune conditions. The first step is to find a way to manage inflammation. And there are a number of drugs that doctors commonly use to do this.

The first is basic, over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen. These are a type of drug called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. NSAIDs block production of inflammation-causing enzymes, which both helps relieve inflammation and prevent pain.

The second type is a type of hormone called corticosteroids. Your body naturally produces corticosteroid to help relieve inflammation, but your doctor can prescribe synthetic corticosteroids to help.

Finally, you might be prescribed a type of drug called an immunosuppressant. Immunosuppressants help block production of the antibodies that cause inflammation. But they can also leave you more vulnerable to infections, which is a particular risk when it comes to a skin condition like pemphigoid. It’s best to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

So, do you suffer from an autoimmune condition like pemphigoid? Do you think it’s related to your fibromyalgia? Let us know in the comments.

 

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