There is a definite association between hives and various autoimmune conditions. Thus, it makes sense to refer to these conditions as autoimmune and hives-associated conditions.
Autoimmune and hives-associated conditions include diseases like Grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s disease, lupus and multiple sclerosis. These are all diseases that have been noted to occur simultaneously with hives in certain patients. In the case of the first two, there is scientific evidence to suggest that chronic hives are significantly associated with autoimmune thyroid disease. This evidence is derived from a study in which patients with chronic hives were found to be more likely to test positive for thyroid autoantibodies than were members of the healthy, hives-free control group.
Thyroid antibodies are those antibodies produced by one’s immune system to attack the body during a spell of autoimmune thyroid disease. Thus, the results of the above study showed that patients who experienced chronic hives were also likely to have an autoimmune thyroid disease like Grave’s disease or Hashimoto’s disease. From this, one could speculate that thyroid disease played a role in triggering hives.
Hives and autoimmune diseases alike can be cause for uncertainty in the field of medical science. Chronic hives are often considered idiopathic, as are autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. Additionally, the exact mechanisms behind different forms of hives and various autoimmune diseases remain mysterious. Thus, the exact relationship between chronic hives and autoimmunity can be understood in different ways.
About Autoimmune Hives
As far as autoimmunity is concerned, one could speculate that there are two forms of urticaria: hives that are themselves autoimmune, and hives that manifest as symptoms of another autoimmune disorder. The former constitute a primary autoimmune disorder and have consequently been christened “autoimmune hives”. Autoimmune hives are thought to result from an overactive immune system. The ASST (autologous serum skin test) is used in their diagnosis. To carry it out, a sample of the patient’s blood is taken. Using a centrifuge, the serum is separated from the rest of the blood’s components. If the subsequent injection of the serum back into the patient’s arm triggers hives, then it is safe to say that the patient has tested positive for an autoimmune disease: hives of the autoimmune variety.
Determining who is likely to develop autoimmune hives (or any autoimmune disease for that matter) is sometimes possible. One high risk group includes people with a family history of diseases that are considered autoimmune, and hives can certainly be placed into that category, alongside rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions. People who have had some physical trauma within the previous six months are also at high risk. A traumatic event like an accident, infection or surgery can also push the immune system over the edge, rendering it overactive.