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Vasculitis: Treatment, Symptoms, Types, Causes, & Diagnosis

Aug 24, 2023


Vasculitis can cause inflammation of the blood vessels. As a result of the inflammation, blood vessel walls may thicken, lowering the diameter of the vessel's entrance. Blood flow reduction can harm organs and tissues.

Numerous variations of vasculitis exist, most of which are rare. Vasculitis may only damage one organ or several. The ailment could be brief or enduring.

Vasculitis can affect everyone, but some kinds are more common in certain age groups. Depending on the type you have, you might improve independently. Most varieties require medication to lessen inflammation and prevent flare-ups.

Causes Of Vasculitis

It is unclear what causes vasculitis exactly. There are some varieties that are influenced by genetics. Others occur when blood vessel cells are unintentionally attacked by the immune system.These are some examples of potential immune system triggers:

  • Hepatitis B and C and other infections
  • the blood cancers
  • Immune system disorders such as lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Responses to particular medicines

Symptoms Of Vasculitis

For the most part, vasculitis has the following general signs and symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • lose weight
  • general discomfort

The bodily components affected by the condition may also exhibit additional indications and symptoms, such as:

  • Lungs-  If vasculitis affects your lungs, you could experience breathing difficulties or even cough up blood.
  • Feet or hands-  Numbness or weakness in the hand or foot can be brought on by specific forms of vasculitis. There may be enlargement or stiffening of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.
  • Digestive system. You might feel pain following a meal if your stomach or intestines are compromised. Blood in the stool can happen from ulcers and perforations.
  • Ears. There could also be sudden hearing loss, ringing in the ears, and dizziness.
  • Skin- Red spots on the skin may indicate internal bleeding. Lumps or open sores on your skin may also be brought on by vasculitis.
  • Eyes. Your eyes may appear red and itchy or painful due to vasculitis. Giant cell arteritis can also result in double vision and may result in temporary or permanent blindness in one or both eyes. Sometimes, this is how a sickness manifests itself.

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Risk Factors For Vasculitis

Anybody can develop vasculitis. Some elements that may raise the likelihood of developing particular illnesses include:

  • Age- Kawasaki illness is most prevalent in children under the age of five, but giant cell arteritis seldom affects people before the age of 50.
  • Family background-  Granulomatosis with polyangiitis, Kawasaki illness, and Behcet's disease can sometimes run in families.
  • Options for living-  Cocaine use can raise the possibility of getting vasculitis. Your risk of developing Buerger's disease may rise if you smoke tobacco, especially if you're a man under 45.
  • Medications-  Drugs, including hydralazine, allopurinol, minocycline, and propylthiouracil, have been known to cause vasculitis.
  • Infections. Your risk of vasculitis may rise if you have hepatitis B or C.
  • Immune disorders-  The chance of developing vasculitis may be higher in those with diseases where the immune system unintentionally attacks the body. Examples include scleroderma, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Sex- While men are far more likely to have Buerger's disease, women are much more likely to have giant cell arteritis.

Diseases Associated With Vasculitis

  • Behcet's disease
  • Buerger disease
  • Churg-Strauss syndrome
  • Cryoglobulinemia
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  • Henoch-Schonlein purpura
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Takayasu's arteritis

Diagnosis Of Vasculitis

Your doctor will probably begin by gathering information about your health and completing a physical examination. To either diagnose vasculitis or rule out other disorders that mimic it, he or she can have you go through one or more diagnostic tests and procedures. tests and procedures could consist of:

  • Blood test. These examinations search for indicators of inflammation, such as elevated C-reactive protein levels. You can determine if you have enough red blood cells by getting a complete blood count. Vasculitis can be identified using blood tests that check for specific antibodies, such as the anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) test.
  • Imaging examinations. Which blood vessels and organs are impacted can be determined using noninvasive imaging techniques. They can also assist the doctor in determining how well you are responding to treatment. X-rays, ultrasound, computerised tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) are some imaging procedures used to diagnose vasculitis.
  • Blood vessel X-rays (angiography). A flexible catheter, similar to a tiny straw, is placed during this treatment into a significant artery or vein. Following the injection of a particular dye into the catheter, X-rays are taken as the dye fills the artery or vein. The ensuing X-rays show the outline of your blood vessels.
  • Biopsy. A small sample of tissue is surgically removed from the area of your body that is injured in this process. Your doctor then examines the tissue to look for vasculitis symptoms.

Treatment Of Vasculitis

The primary goal of treatment is to control any underlying illnesses that may be the source of the vasculitis and to reduce inflammation.


A corticosteroid, such as prednisone, is the most common type of drug used to treat inflammation caused by vasculitis.

Corticosteroid side effects can be severe, especially if you use them repeatedly. Potential negative consequences include things like weight gain, diabetes, and bone weakening. If a corticosteroid is necessary for long-term therapy, you'll likely receive the lowest dose possible.

Other medications may be used with corticosteroids to lessen inflammation and hasten the reduction of dosage. A different drug might be administered depending on the kind of vasculitis that is there.

Cyclophosphamide, tocilizumab (Actemra), rituximab (Rituxan), azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan), methotrexate (Trexall), and mycophenolate (CellCept) are some of the medications that may be used.

The type and degree of your vasculitis, the organs it has damaged, and any additional medical disorders you may have will determine the precise medications you require.


Vasculitis can occasionally cause an aneurysm, which is a protrusion or ballooning in a blood vessel's wall. This protrusion may need surgery to reduce the likelihood that it will rupture. Blocked arteries may also need to be surgically addressed in order to restore blood flow to the affected location.

Complications Of Vasculitis

The kind and severity of your illness will determine the complications of vasculitis. They might also be caused by adverse effects from the prescription drugs you use to treat the problem. Vasculitis complications include:

  • organ damage. Vasculitis can be severe in some cases and can harm important organs.
  • Aneurysms and blood clots. A blood clot may block a blood vessel, which would prevent blood flow. An aneurysm (AN-yoo-riz-um) is a weakening and ballooning of a blood vessel that only very rarely results from vasculitis.
  • Blindness or a loss of vision. This is a potential side effect of untreated giant cell arteritis.
  • Infections. Your immune system may be compromised by some of the drugs used to treat vasculitis. You may become more vulnerable to infections as a result.

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