Hives, the first thing that come to our mind is irritation, itchy ness and redness. It's a common occurrence, which every person must be getting at some point of time in his or her lifetime. Hives are actually immune response to any external or internal agents affecting our body. But such allergic reaction is very subjective. Some people are prone to allergy while some may not. Whenever hives comes, we try to relate it to food item that has been consumed recently. But, commonly allergens can be anything from food items to sun exposure, pollutants, hay or pollens. Apart from common external factors, systematic diseases and mental conditions like stress, anxiety or depression can cause hives. A routine exercise or simple pain killers can cause hives in our body. Most serious causes can be kidney or liver diseases or thyroid problems which can cause hives. Hives are normally temporary. It stays for sometime, around six weeks or even less and goes off with or without medication. But if it is persisting or causing disruption in our wellbeing, we need to consult our allergist physician.
Here, we talk about the relation of hives with emotional responses. Obviously, there do exist some similarities. Like hives, emotional responses in our body are subjective. Some individuals may over react to the most trivial reasons while some remain calm even in the toughest situations. Therefore, immune reaction of the body towards emotional reaction can vary from person to person. In some people, in spite of emotional stress, there is are no hives, headache or pounding heart or any other systematic irregularities. Reasons for emotional stress can be as trivial as going on a vacation, appearing for an exam or even getting married. Situations like disturbed relationships, fights in workplace, job pressure or certain emotional states like anger, sadness, nervousness, pain, euphoria can all lead to release of histamines and can cause hives. Mental conditions like depressions, anxiety or post traumatic stress can worsen the existing skin reactions or can lead to the appearance of hives.
Anything which is not normal to the body, the immune system reacts. The causes can be ranging from the simplest reasons to more serious ones. Physical or emotional stimulus which is unusual to the body, leads to the immune system releasing a chemical called histamine by the small blood vessels right at the site of contact. Hives or allergic reactions appear exactly at this area of histamine release. Whatever be the stimulus, hives commonly appear in the face, neck, hands, legs or in the chest regions. In case of food allergies shortly after consumption, hives start appearing. In case of emotion stimulus, it can appear anywhere in the body soon after the emotional state has occurred. Physicians usually detect the cause by taking the history of the patient or doing a skin test. Blood tests are done to detect and the underlying systematic illness. Sometimes, the exact cause is difficult to rule out. Yet, sometimes there is no cause at all.
As stress and anxiety has become a part of our everyday life, so also hives has become very common. To be in stress to some extent in everyday life is good. It helps us to be more cautious and perform better at work. But chronic emotional stress or frequent emotional outbursts are detrimental to health. It can lead to serious problems like systematic irregularities, worsen any existing skin conditions, insomnia or lead to frequent allergies or hives. In a state of chronic stress, body's immune system starts reacting. It releases histamine to counter the anxious state. But unfortunately, histamine is unable to release the stress from our body and instead causes hives. They appear to be red and very itchy. The more we are tensed up, the itchiness state tends to rise. The more we start scratching, the situation changes from bad to worse. Once we start to calm down and release the stress, the hives slowly disappear. So, emotions play a major role as a cause of frequent or chronic hives. So, the chronic state of mental stress and anxiety not only causes allergy/hives but also tends to weaken our immune system in course of time. A weak immune system can make us vulnerable to many diseases, infections and even cancers.
Hives, either chronic or acute is not life threatening. Only they tend to be irritating and itchy. They disappear on its own or can be treated with over the counter anti histaminic. But frequently appearing hives is not so good. This can be a cause for a faltered immune system. And, immune system weakening and subsequently faltered immune system in our body can trouble us later. So, it is better to start acting and taking care of our body right onwards. We need to be choosy and careful in selecting food items if we have positive history of hives and allergy. Likewise, if we are aware of any external factors that cause hives to us, we need to wear protective clothing whenever we are outside. To keep our immune system strong, we need to adopt a healthy lifestyle with healthy eating habits. Routine exercise, daily sleep of eight hours and meditation are some of the keys to a balanced, healthy life. Practicing yoga and meditation helps to keep our mind calm even in a stress state. In fact, it is very essential to keep our mind free from emotional stress and anxiety as much as possible. Challenges in life keep coming and going but it is just one life that we get to live so its very precious!
About Author / Additional Info:
A medical doctor, who is enthusiastic to write articles on health related topics.