Causes Of Bullous Pemphigoid Disease: Symptoms And Treatment

Bullous pemphigoid is a skin disorder which is characterized by big fluid filled blisters. The blisters tend to develop on those areas of your skin which flex often, like – armpits, lower abdomen, and upper thighs. It is an acute or chronic autoimmune condition and is categorized as a type II hypersensitivity response, with the development of anti-hemidesmosome antibodies.

The condition is known to develop when the immune system erroneously assails a thin layer of tissue beneath the outer layer of the skin. The exact cause for the anomalous immune mechanism is unidentified, though; occasionally it gets triggered due to certain medications.

The treatment comprises of prednisone, and other drugs which curb the immune response. The condition is rather rare; but can be life-threatening, more so, for old people who are already in poor health.

How Do You Get Bullous Pemphigoid?

The precise cause of bullous pemphigoid is still quite ambiguous. The lesions develop due to a fault in the immune system.

The immune system normally synthesizes antibodies to battle microbes and potentially injurious foreign substances. Occasionally, the body produces an antibody to a specific tissue in the body. In bullous pemphigoid, the immune system synthesizes antibodies to the cells connecting the epidermis and the dermis.

These antibodies give rise to inflammation which brings about the formation of blisters of bullous pemphigoid.

The condition develops arbitrarily with no clear factors contributing to its development. Some cases may occur because of certain medical treatments, such as:

  • Drugs that are known to cause bullous pemphigoid are – penicillin, sulfasalazine and furosemide.
  • UV light therapy to treat some skin disorders may prompt the development of bullous pemphigoid.

Symptoms Of Bullous Pemphigoid

  • The chief symptom is the development of big blisters which do not break when touched. The fluid inside the blisters is clear but may contain blood. The skin around the blisters is usually darker than normal. Some people having bullous pemphigoid develop a rash or eczema rather than blisters.
  • The blisters manifest along creases or folds in the skin, which flex easily, common sites include – armpits, lower abdomen, groin, and upper thighs. The blisters are very itchy. You may also develop blisters in the mouth.
  • In case the mucous membranes of the eyes and mouth are largely affected by the blisters, then, this type of condition is called mucous membrane pemphigoid. When blisters develop on the eyes, you are more liable to have scarring. This condition is critical and calls for timely diagnosis and rapid treatment.

Treatment For Bullous Pemphigoid

To establish the diagnosis, your dermatologist will take a sample of the affected skin for laboratory assessment.

Your health care provider will start the appropriate treatment to help the skin heal quickly and to relieve the itching. He will prescribe a combination of medications which restrain the immune mechanism which sets off inflammation.

  • Prednisone is prescribed to inhibit the immune system; however, long term usage raises the risk of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, high cholesterol, weak bones and cataracts.
  • Drugs will be prescribed to you which hold back the immune system and slow up the synthesis of the WBCs. Immuno-suppressants help decrease the dose of prednisone you may require.
  • Other drugs with anti-inflammatory properties may be prescribed as well to deal with the condition better.