Vasculitis means inflammation of the blood vessels.
Vasculitis causes a wide range of symptoms, such as:
Symptoms can vary widely based on where the swelling happens in the body. Treatments for vasculitis reduce swelling and relieve symptoms.
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Vasculitis is when the immune system attacks the blood vessels. Doctors define it as an umbrella of health issues that cause inflammation in the blood vessels.
The swelling can lead to scarred, narrowed, and weakened blood vessels.
Vasculitis may affect one or many parts of the body.
It can be.
Without treatment, some types of vasculitis can lead to:
There are more than 15 types of vasculitis.
Some types affect mostly older people. Others are more common in children.
Doctors often classify vasculitides (the plural form of vasculitis) by the size of the blood vessel involved.
Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) vasculitis, which includes:
The following risk factors can lead to changes in the immune system or blood vessels that make vasculitis more likely:
Based on the type and how severe it is, vasculitis can lead to:
Treatments and routine check-ups help prevent these problems.Back to top
People who have vasculitis generally don't feel well.
They may have:
Vasculitis symptoms depend on the type you have, so they can vary widely. The symptoms also depend on where in the body the swelling is.
Symptoms of vasculitis can occur in the:
Many types of vasculitis may look like nothing at all. Most of the symptoms aren't visible.
The symptoms that you may see vary based on:
Some visible symptoms include a dark red rash or small bruises if vasculitis is in the skin. The rash shows up as red skin welts and raised hives. These can itch and burn.
Skin patches of vasculitis have red rims and white centers. They may have red or purple pinpoint spots caused by bleeding under the skin (petechia).
Other visible symptoms include red eyes and swelling in the legs, arms, hands, or feet.Back to top
Vasculitis symptoms are also common in many other health issues. For this reason, it may take time to rule out other diseases before diagnosing vasculitis.
Your doctor will do an exam and check your heart rate and blood pressure. You will often need more than one test to confirm vasculitis.
These tests may include:
Other tests can show if vasculitis is affecting you.
Your doctor may suggest:
The most common treatment for vasculitis is corticosteroids, medicines that reduce swelling.
As these drugs are unsafe for long-term, high-dose use, your doctor will prescribe them sparingly. After the disease is under control, they'll reduce or stop the medicine.
Your doctor may also suggest other drugs that block certain immune proteins.
These include medicines that target B-cells, a type of white blood cell that triggers inflammation.
Biologics are a newer type of treatment made from complex sources, like cells.
As many of them target a specific process in the body, they can have fewer side effects than other treatments.
People may need surgery if vasculitis causes a bulging blood vessel or blocked blood clot.
You may need other treatments, depending on how vasculitis affects you.
If it affects your lungs, you may need an inhaler to help you breathe. If you get skin rashes, you may need lotions.
Physical therapy can also help people if vasculitis or treatments affect their strength or movement.
While it can be fatal, many people with vasculitis live into old age.
The outlook depends on many factors, including the type of vasculitis, treatments, lifestyle, and more.Back to top