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Mari, my anti-ds-DNA is likewise measured in IU/ml, but what gives it additional meaning: my labs include a [B]footnote [/B]that parses the range. Here's my lab's footnote for anti-ds-DNA:
< 25 = negative
25 - 34.9 = equivocal
35 - 99.9 = weak positive
100 - 200 = positive
> 200 = strong positive

Based on that, I still suspect that it's possible that a reading of 13 could be a tiny bit elevated yet nowhere near the range that worries most rheums. For example, the author of one book only really worries at a certain level. (Sadly, he didn't specify an exact number.) You could ask your current doctor &/or previous doctor to put your "13" into perspective, by asking at what level each "takes notice". Knowing that might explain why they disagree.

I know that determining the root cause of hives is arduous, and that sometimes the cause can't be determined. Did you have tests to look for reaction to wheat, strawberries, peanuts, molds, allergens, UV rays, etc.? (In one article on hives, I saw a long list of things cited.) I also know it's possible to get hives from a substance that previously had never bothered you. (My husband suddenly began reacting to strawberries. Wild, more than 100 huge hives on his first outbreak. Misery.)

On the theory that you need REALLY GOOD DOCTORS for this, I'd look for medical center-affiliated doctors with satellite offices in the suburbs. (We're seeing a lot of that around here these days, as the big hospitals attempt to extend their reach & as smaller unaffiliated hospitals go bankrupt.) You might be able to find a good rheum & dermatologist who offer some hours in the suburbs.

Anyhow, I hope others add more. I'm pretty sure there have been others here who've had hives among their other issues. Good luck today. Let us know how it goes & what happens next, OK? Bye for now.

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