Symptoms of urticarial vasculitis are hives that cause intense itching, burning and pain, explains the Vasculitis Foundation. The hives are not like other types of hives, because they are red-rimmed and often filled with spots of blood called petechiae. The patient also experiences pain in the joints, abdominal pain, fever and swollen lymph nodes.
The hives can discolor the skin and cause ulcers. Severe cases damage the lungs, kidneys, eyes and gut. Medical professionals do not know what causes urticarial vasculitis, according to the Vasculitis Foundation. However, it often has associations with such autoimmune diseases as lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. Patients who suffer from hepatitis B and C and colon and pancreatic cancer also seem to be at risk for urticarial vasculitis. Some medications, especially those that treat hypertension, can also cause the condition.
Urticarial vasculitis has two forms, notes the Vasculitis Foundation. One type presents with a normal amount of complements, and the other has a low level of complements. Complements are types of proteins that circulate through a patient's blood and help his immune system, reports MedlinePlus. When the patient has normal complements and the condition does not affect his internal organs, treatment often consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, explains the Vasculitis Foundation. More severe cases need treatment with corticosteroids or even chemotherapy drugs.