Bullus pemphigoid is a chronic and rare skin disorder where the formation of blisters also known as bullae develops. The blisters do not break suddenly and are filled with fluid. It is commonly seen in elderly people who are about 70 years of age or more. It is not common among children. The blisters are formed usually on armpits, thighs, mouth, nose, and the lower abdomen region. The disease can be chronic or mild. It can affect the daily life routine of a person.
The cause of Bullus pemphigoid is still unknown, but it is felt that when the immune system grows old, it is activated with the genetic predisposition that causes this disease. It is caused when the immune system attacks a thin layer of the tissue which lies below the outer layer of the skin. The antibodies accumulate in a tense and abnormal manner on the basement membrane of the skin forming blisters.
Signs & Symptoms
The symptoms of Bullus pemphigoid include intense burning sensation and itching. It affects the mucous membrane of mouth and cause a lot of pain or burning sensation where the inner lining tissue peels off and one becomes allergic to the acidic type of foods. Thus, one is not able to eat well and sometimes the infection travels to the throat causing itching and coughing. The disease worsens in the initial stages but settles down later on. If the disease spreads to inner nose it can cause nose bleeding as well. There are several other skin diseases where similar symptoms are seen.
A skin test is necessary to diagnose the disease. Thus, skin biopsy is performed to find the inflammation produced in the tissues. This helps in revealing the deposits of antibodies on the outer layer of the skin or on the mucus membrane. To circulate the basement membrane antibodies, a blood test is performed. With rare medical conditions this disease is associated with other illnesses that includes SLE or lupus and even cancer.
Sometimes complications can be caused if the blisters are infected. It can cause sepsis which is life threatening. Such complications can occur in elderly people very easily. The other complication is the formation of scars on the nose, mouth or eye.
The disease is said to be self resolving most of the time, but sometimes medication is given. Medication is given to suppress the immune system and the treatment involves :
Topical cortisone creams for mild conditions but internal high dose of cortisone is given. Commonly prednisone is given in the form of pills. Steroids or coristone is taken internally Immune-suppression drugs like Rheumatrex, Imuran, etc. are also given To reduce inflammation Tetracycline is also given. Intravenous immunoglobulin infusions are the treatment given on a monthly basis
There is no such prevention for Bullus pemphigoid but the drugs taken for treatment should not be used for long term. Long term use of Corticosteroids should be avoided while treating the disease as it can cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cataract, diabetes and weaker bones.
There are many types of medicines that may be used in specific types of autoimmune diseases. While some treatments aim at relieving symptoms like pain and inflammation, others target the disease process. Unfortunately, adding to extreme hazards and medical anxiety, some autoimmune diseases like thyroiditis and diabetes make the manufacture of vital components in the form of hormones conducive to the human body difficult. Relaxingly enough, some agents introduced by the developed medical ventures, like, anti-TNF medications are used in autoimmune arthritis and psoriasis. Apart from medications, there are several lifestyle changes that may be adopted along with the treatment of autoimmune diseases. These include eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy body weight, getting adequate rest, reducing stress, etc.