Understanding hives (urticaria) pathology, ie its causes and effects, is key to an effective treatment
Current treatments are based on preventing mast cells from being activated or neutralising the chemicals that are released by these cells.1
- Urticaria pathology, sometimes called urticaria pathophysiology, explains how symptoms occur.
- Mast cells occur in areas of the body that are in contact with their surroundings – e.g. skin and mucous membranes.2
- When they detect threats such as invading bacteria or parasites they become activated and release histamine and leukotriene messengers. They provide warning signals to alert your body to remove the threat.2
- In urticaria your immune system makes a mistake. The mast cells become activated when there is no real threat at all. But consequences are all too real. The signals released by the activated mast cells irritate nerve endings in the skin resulting in itch and they can also cause nearby blood vessels to swell and leak which causes redness and swelling.2
- When the cause or trigger of the hives is unknown, treatment involves preventing the mast cells from being activated and/or reducing the amount of chemicals such as histamines and leukotrienes released by the mast cells.1
Explore on this siteUrticaria (hives) treatment options What are the treatment options for chronic hives people? Can a healthy diet help manage chronic urticaria?