Also called: Angiitis

Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels. It happens when the body's immune system attacks the blood vessel by mistake. It can happen because of an infection, a medicine, or another disease. The cause is often unknown.

Vasculitis can affect arteries, veins and capillaries. Arteries are vessels that carry blood from the heart to the body's organs. Veins are the vessels that carry blood back to the heart. Capillaries are tiny blood vessels that connect the small arteries and veins.

When a blood vessel becomes inflamed, it can

  • Narrow, making it more difficult for blood to get through
  • Close off completely so that blood can't get through
  • Stretch and weaken so much that it bulges. The bulge is called an aneurysm. If it bursts, it can cause dangerous bleeding inside the body.

Symptoms of vasculitis can vary, but usually include fever, swelling and a general sense of feeling ill. The main goal of treatment is to stop the inflammation. Steroids and other medicines to stop inflammation are often helpful.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Vasculitis

The following features are indicative of Vasculitis:
  • fever
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • weight loss
  • night sweats
  • rash
  • numbness
  • weakness
  • loss of pulse in limb
  • mouth ulcers
  • genital ulcers
  • eye inflammation
  • acne-like lesions on skin
  • tingling
  • asthma
  • nerve pain
  • sinus changes
  • stiffness in muscles of the neck, shoulders, hips and thighs
It is possible that Vasculitis shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Vasculitis

The following are the most common causes of Vasculitis:
  • hepatitis B infections
  • hepatitis C infections
  • blood cancers
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • lupus
  • scleroderma

Other Causes of Vasculitis

The following are the less common causes of Vasculitis:
  • family history

Risk Factors for Vasculitis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Vasculitis:
  • blood cancer
  • family history
  • age between 30 and 50 years

Prevention of Vasculitis

No, it is not possible to prevent Vasculitis.
  • family history

Occurrence of Vasculitis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Vasculitis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Rare between 10K - 50K cases

Common Age Group

Vasculitis can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Vasculitis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Vasculitis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Vasculitis:
  • Blood tests: To look for signs of inflammation
  • Urine tests: To reveal whether urine contains red blood cells or has too much protein, which can signal a medical problem
  • Imaging tests: To determine what blood vessels and organs are affected
  • Angiography: To see affected blood vessels
  • Tissue biopsy: To examine tissue for signs of vasculitis

Doctor for Diagnosis of Vasculitis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Vasculitis:
  • Rheumatologist

Complications of Vasculitis if untreated

Yes, Vasculitis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Vasculitis is left untreated:
  • organ damage
  • blood clots and aneurysms
  • blindness
  • pneumonia
  • blood infection

Self-care for Vasculitis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Vasculitis:
  • Regular exercise: Help prevent bone loss, high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Maintain healthy diet: Help prevent potential problems that can result from medications

Patient Support for Treatment of Vasculitis

The following actions may help Vasculitis patients:
  • Education: Helps coping with side effects of medication
  • Family and friends support: Sharing helps coping up with condition

Time for Treatment of Vasculitis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Vasculitis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 11/20/2019.
This page provides information for Vasculitis.
Behcet's Syndrome
Giant Cell Arteritis
Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis
Polymyalgia Rheumatica
Vascular Diseases

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