Hypersplenism: A Syndrome?

The term “hypersensitivity” is used in many different contexts. Some doctors use it when they refer to the condition of being allergic to something or someone. They are not talking about hypersensitivity but rather allergies. Other times, the word hypersensitivity refers to a person’s sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, light, touch, smell and taste. These are all considered normal reactions that happen naturally in our bodies.

Another definition of hypersensitivity is a reaction that causes distress or pain. For example, if you have a severe allergy to peanuts, your body will react with extreme discomfort and even pain if you eat them. So, it would be called anaphylaxis (an allergic reaction) instead of hypersensitivity.

There are other definitions too; however, these three are the most common ones.

What Is Hypersplenism?

In this context, hypersensitivity means having a heightened sensitivity to certain things. Most often, this occurs due to stress or anxiety. People with hypersensitive reactions may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and more. Sometimes they may feel like their skin is crawling or burning when exposed to certain smells. Their eyes may water and they might become very anxious when around people who remind them of the thing that makes them uncomfortable. In some instances, people can have a hypersensitive reaction to a medication or when experiencing an allergic reaction.

Hypersensitivity is an immune system response. The body recognizes something as a threat and tries to get rid of it as soon as possible. It does that by trying to fight the allergen.

This condition isn’t life threatening; however, it can be very uncomfortable and cause various problems in a person’s life.

What Are the Symptoms of Hypersplenism?

The main symptom is a decreased number of platelets in the blood. This can lead to easy bruising, bleeding gums and nosebleeds. There may also be an increased amount of immature white blood cells in the person’s system. This means that their immune system is overactive.

The exact symptoms will depend on what kind of hypersensitivity a person has. In some cases, people have no outward signs at all. This is often the case with people who are allergic to certain foods such as peanuts or shellfish.

Hypersensitivity is usually diagnosed by a doctor after a physical examination and possibly some lab tests. In some cases, it may be diagnosed if someone experiences an allergic reaction to something that causes anaphylaxis.

How Is It Treated?

Hypersensitivity can be treated in a variety of ways. The goal is to alleviate the symptoms and help the person cope with the condition. If someone has a severe allergic reaction, they may need medication or even hospitalization in rare cases. Usually, people are given an epinephrine auto-injector (or EpiPen) to use in case of an emergency.

Some hypersensitivities can be prevented with the right medication or dosage adjustments. For example, someone who’s taking a blood pressure medication may experience hives or a rash as a side effect. Reducing the dosage usually prevents these problems.

How Is It Prevented?

Hypersensitivity can’t be prevented in all cases; however, sometimes it can be prevented by avoiding whatever it is that triggers the condition.

Sources & references used in this article:

Hypersplenism by CA Doan – Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 1949 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Hypersplenism by M Peck-Radosavljevic – European journal of gastroenterology & …, 2001 – journals.lww.com

Hypersplenism by W Dameshek – Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 1955 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Hypersplenism by WH Crosby – Annual Review of Medicine, 1962 – annualreviews.org

Embolic therapy of hypersplenism by FE Maddison – Investigative radiology, 1973 – journals.lww.com

Splenomegaly, hypersplenism and coagulation abnormalities in liver disease by PA McCormick, KM Murphy – Best Practice & Research Clinical …, 2000 – Elsevier

Partial splenic embolization in the treatment of hypersplenism by DG Spigos, O Jonasson, M Mozes… – American Journal of …, 1979 – Am Roentgen Ray Soc

Splenectomy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and hypersplenism by Y Sugawara, J Yamamoto, K Shimada… – Journal of the American …, 2000 – Elsevier