Vasculitis is the medical term for blood vessel inflammation. It can affect various body parts; depending on which part is affected; the symptoms will differ. Angiitis and arteritis are other names for vasculitis. The changes in the blood vessel wall include scarring, weakening, narrowing, and thickening. Vasculitis can be either chronic or acute.
Insufficient blood supply can damage the body's tissues and organs in some situations. Vasculitis can affect any age group. Some types impact blood arteries that supply or travel to particular organs, such as the skin, eyes, or brain. Other types could simultaneously affect many organ systems. This condition may require minor and not require medical attention.
Vasculitis disease normally affects the lungs, kidneys, nerves, and skin and can involve the blood vessels that supply the brain.
The types of vasculitis include:
- Buerger's disease
- Behcet's disease
- Giant cell arteritis
- Henoch-Schonlein purpura
- Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
- Kawasaki disease
- Takayasu's arteritis
- Churg-Strauss syndrome
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Vasculitis can appear with a wide range of symptoms, from mild to potentially fatal. It depends on the organs affected, the kind of vasculitis, and the severity of the disorder. Sometimes signs and symptoms appear gradually over months, while other times they appear suddenly over days or weeks. Typical signs include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Body aches and pains
When to see a doctor?
If you experience any vasculitis signs or symptoms, make an appointment with the doctor. Early identification is essential for successfully treating certain types of vasculitis because they can cause complications.
The exact cause of Vasculitis disease is unknown. In a few cases genetic factors might play a role in the development of the disease. Other reasons include an attack of the immune system on the blood vessels resulting in their inflammation. The triggers for this immune system response are:
- Blood cancers
- Infections, such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C
- Immune system diseases, such as lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome.
- Reactions to certain medications
Different risk factors apply depending on whether the vasculitis is primary or secondary. A family history of vasculitis is one of the risk factors for primary vasculitis; however, not everyone with risk factors will have vasculitis. Secondary vasculitis risk factors include:
- Autoimmune conditions including lupus, scleroderma, or rheumatoid arthritis
- Drug reaction
- History of blood cancer, such as leukaemia or lymphoma
- History of hepatitis B or C
Vasculitis complications include:
Vasculitis can be severe in some cases and harm vital organs in the body.
Blood clots and aneurysms:
Blood flow may be hindered by a blood clot that develops in a blood artery. Rarely, vasculitis can weaken and enlarge a blood artery, creating an aneurysm.
Vision loss or blindness:
This might occur if giant cell arteritis is left untreated.
Some drugs used to treat vasculitis may make the immune system less robust. This may increase the susceptibility to infections.
The doctor will do a physical examination and inquire about the medical history. The tests to diagnose vasculitis disease consist of:
- Blood tests may be done to check anaemia, to see whether particular antibodies are detected, and check for signs of excessively high levels of inflammation.
- Biopsy test is done to check for tissue damage or symptoms of inflammation.
- Blood pressure is measured since vasculitis frequently coexists with high blood pressure.
- Urinalysis to check for blood cells or aberrant protein levels that may suggest kidney disease.
- To determine if the heart is affected, electrocardiogram (EKG) and echocardiography (echo) are used.
- X-ray of the chest to determine whether vasculitis has affected the lungs or major arteries like the aorta or pulmonary arteries
- Lung function tests can evaluate the lungs function.
- Abdominal ultrasonography is used to examine the abdominal organs for signs of vasculitis.
- A CT scan to check for any damage to the internal organs or blood arteries in the abdomen
- MRI scan to evaluate any internal organ damage.
- Angiography to determine whether a particular blood artery is blocked, malformed, enlarged, or narrowed.
Depending on the affected organs and the severity of the disease, different types of vasculitis are treated differently.
- The goal of treatments is often to reduce immunological activity and reduce inflammation.
- Prednisone and other cortisone-related drugs are often used.
- Various immune suppressants and others are also taken into consideration.
- Additionally, some medical treatments may be necessary for the damaged organs when the condition is active.
Dos and Don’ts
Vasculitis is a rare condition that can be difficult to diagnose, but many patients recover and continue their normal, healthy lives. A proper diagnosis and efficient treatment are essential to avoid major harm to the body and the affected organs. It's important to follow the treatment regimen that the doctor has advised. These dos and don'ts can help people manage the condition by avoiding and reducing its negative consequences.
|Eat a healthy and balanced diet||Eat processed, junk and fatty foods|
|Exercise regularly||Smoke cigarettes|
|Limit sugar, fat and alcohol and maintain a healthy weight||Obesity|
|Eat lean protein like chicken, low-fat dairy and fish.||Consume excess alcohol|
|Eat calcium or vitamin D supplements as recommended by the doctor||Self-medicate without consulting the doctor|
The treatment for vasculitis disease involves medications, a healthy lifestyle and staying away from infections.
Make and keep regular follow-up appointments with the doctor to keep track of the symptoms and to control the severity of the disease.
Care at Medicover Hospitals
At Medicover hospitals, we have the best team of rheumatologists and neurologists who work together to provide Vasculitis treatment with utmost precision. Our highly skilled medical team utilises the latest medical equipment, diagnostic procedures and technologies to treat various autoimmune diseases and conditions. For vasculitis, we adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to provide comprehensive care to the patients and attend to all their medical needs for faster and sustained recovery.