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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Delayed Pressure Urticaria and Angioedema AKA Goodbye to my High Heels

What the what you say? Yeah me too! In any case I will explain. After a trip to the doctor in Montana he determined that I *may* have Delay Pressure Urticaria and Angioedema. Whew that is a mouthful! But what does it mean? Well while I wait a YEAR to see an allergist in Calgary I have google to help me out.
My lovely heels

A hive from a neck massage
I will do some defining as I understand it for you :D Delayed Pressure Urticaria and Angioedema means that I am allergic to pressure. Not the kind of pressure in terms of mental pressure (I can still handle that =D) but pressure as in pressing on my skin. So think tight shoes, waistbands, bra straps, bracelets etc. So that is the Pressure part of Delayed PRESSURE Urticaria and Angioedema.

Now the Delayed part means that I don't react right away, sometime it is a day or two and sometimes it is an hour or so. Which means it is really really hard for me to pinpoint what caused a reaction so that I can avoid it or take a Benedryl to lessen it. Plus it isn't always the same thing sometimes one pair of shoes will give me a reaction and the next time nothing.So frustrating! Now you are halfway there you got the Delayed and Pressure parts of DELAYED PRESSURE Urticaria and Angioedema.Still with me?

A hive and swelling on the side of my heel
Urticaria is just a fancy word for hives as far as I can tell, don't ask me why they don't just say hives or allergic reaction? I guess they are trying to distinguish from anaphylaxis? Anaphylaxis is life threatening which as far as I understand it is unlikely that my Pressure Urticaria will develop into. What a mouthful this all is! So DELAYED PRESSURE URTICARIA and Angioedema means I get a hive from pressure points. Weird I know, or as the  nurse said when I donated blood this week "neat" umm not so much from my standpoint but nonetheless interesting.

And now the last part Angioedema which again is just another $10 word for swelling which means sometimes the hives go beyond a hive and become a big fat swollen foot which is what happened in Montana which is why I went to the doc. Because I couldn't even walk! My foot was so swollen and painful even a sheet touching it was excruciating!
This is a hive I got from my purse strap
A hive from a bracelet
Now you are probably wondering what the heck? Me too because I HAD asked my doc here at home several times about it in the last 3 years or so and she said it was normal. I must have done a terrible job of explaining it? In any case at least now I know it is not normal. I shouldn't see my hand swell up to almost unusable after squeezing a strength test machine for 10 sec. Or as in the case of Montana my foot swelling from jogging in regular shoes on a highway helping after an accident.

Montana is the most extreme reaction I have had as of yet but I have been having weird symptoms for almost 3 yrs. At first I thought maybe I had just gone too long without wearing heels being that I wasn't working for most of my pregnancy. I thought maybe I was too fat, I mean we all know heels are not the greatest and most comfortable shoes and us ladies have all had sore/puffy feet after a wedding etc or wearing them all day so maybe my weight was just making it worse? But then other things were happening too. I was getting weird and extremely itchy spots on my palms (doc could find no explanation) or my hands and arms swelled after making Easter bread (I figured I over did it on the kneading) I could go on but I won't.

So why does Delayed Pressure Urticaria and Angioedema mean goodbye to my High Heels? For now I have boxed them up since I can't wear them for more than an hour without having a reaction and I can't take enough Benedryl to avoid a reaction and not fall asleep standing up =D And they might as well stop taking up space so I can make room for lots of cute flats =D Hence my littering this post with pics of my departed heels. So if you see a pair you like and you are a size 8.5/9ish and see me regularly you are welcome to borrow them indefinitely.

What does Delayed Pressure Urticaria and Angioedema mean for me?
- I have to take a allergy pill like Reactine everyday (and the best ones aren't covered by our drug plan but Reactine seems to be helping for now) this helps to lessen the severity of an attack
- I have to notice the warning signs (usually an itch that seems harmless) and NOT scratch etc and take a Benedryl and be tired because I was wrong when I thought it didn't make me tired
- I know that in cold or hot conditions I will have a reaction faster and under circumstances that may not cause one (hence the shoes that one day create a reaction but next time don't), my first reaction came after I spent the night sleeping in the freezing basement one night while letting Grady "cry it out" (which didn't really work by the way)
- Symptoms started occurring around the time I got the Mirena and I have done some googling and there is a lot of suspicious connections between Mirena and Urticaria so I might get it out...

In any case I just thought I would share since that is what blogging is all about =D Here are some interesting links if you want to read further.
Mirena Side Effects
Urticaria Pigmentosa (Like the red spots on my palms)
Pressure Urticaria
Delayed Pressure Urticaria
Urticaria and Angioedema
Allergy info from Auckland
And even more info from the World Allergy Organization

I wrote an update