Friday, September 18, 2009

Erythema Nodosum is Not Hives

Although I do look just like this, it's not me. Image found here.


After yet another trip to see my doctor, I was informed that I do not have hives. See my previous whiney-butt post about my skin here. I had an appointment with Dr. S., my rheumatologist yesterday, and as we munched chocolate and pumpkin swirl bark, she gave me some news that almost offset the bliss induced by great candy. Oh. My. Gosh. Great candy.

Actually, these big red blotches on my shins, forearms, neck, and chest are actually an inflammatory type of skin condition called erythema nodosum. How nice of them to appear and provide yet another learning opportunity.

Things That I Have Learned About Erythema Nodosum:
1. EN is caused by an inflammation of the panniculus, or the fatty layer that lies just beneath the dermis portion of the skin. Now there's a new word to casually toss out at your next cocktail party.

2. The lesions caused by EN appear as reddish painful lumps located on the shins, but also can appear on the arms, chest, face and neck. Gee. Sounds familiar.

3. EN can be caused by many conditions, the most common being medications, certain types of infections, pregnancy, inflammatory bowel diseases, and sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease. Sometimes EN can appear all by itself. Now isn't that special.

4. EN can be a very short-term condition lasting from a few weeks to months, or may become chronic, meaning long-term. As in years and years and years. Yikes.

5. EN is treated by first determining and treating the underlying condition. In my case, Dr. S. strongly suspects that I have acquired yet another member of the autoimmune family - sarcoidosis. She prescribed oral prednisone for me in a burst and taper dosage. You can read more about sarcoidosis here.

6. EN is an irritating, good-grief-what's-all-over-your-arms-and-legs?!, keep Julia up at night scratching, geez not more prednisone! type of condition.

You can read more about stupid annoying Erythema Nodosum here.


annie said...

Gee Julia, something else to add to your repertoire of goodies! I sometimes have little hives here and there, but mostly have what seems to be cloudy red formations under the skin in my arms, along with flushing along cheeks and nose. I tested negative for ANA, and my rheumatologist does not think I have lupus, but I am waiting for the other shoe to drop...I really think I'm not done with sjogren's, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: something else will crop up. How's that for keeping positive?! I'm glad you're taking this calmly; I hope your chocolate soothed the bad news.

Julia Oleinik said...

Hi Annie -

Thanks for your concern and comments, although, to be truthful, I am not calm. I am actually pretty cranky about this newest development.

But yes, the chocolate..............ahhhh......