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Schnitzler syndrome

Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team

Updated on

What is Schnitzler syndrome?

Schnitzler syndrome is a rare condition affecting the skin and joints. The cause of this condition is not known. It's believed to be autoimmune, meaning it's the result of the body's immune system attacking healthy tissues by mistake. The condition can affect anybody, but it most often affects middle-aged adults. It's a little more common in men than women. There have been only around 300 cases reported worldwide, mostly in Europe. The main symptom is a recurrent, non-itchy rash on the torso and limbs. This rash typically goes away within 1 day, but can come back often. Other symptoms may include a recurring fever, joint pain and inflammation, bone pain, and weakness. The symptoms are different from person to person. Exercise, stress, or temperature changes may trigger the symptoms. This condition may be suspected based on medical history and a physical exam. It's confirmed with lab tests. People with this condition have a higher level of immunoglobulin M, an immune system protein, in their blood. As this condition is very rare, it can take years before the correct diagnosis is made. The condition cannot be cured, and treatment aims to reduce the symptoms, Schnitzler syndrome does not seem to affect lifespan. However, affected people may have a higher risk of other blood and immune system diseases.

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