Vasculitis means inflamed blood vessels. This happens when the body's own immune system attacks the blood vessels.
Your immune system might be reacting to an infection or a medicine. Or you may have an immune disorder.
Vasculitis causes blood vessel walls to thicken, weaken, or stretch. This makes it harder for blood to flow. And that can lead to symptoms in any parts of your body that aren't getting enough blood.
There are different types of vasculitis. And different parts of the body can be affected. This includes the head, joints and muscles, the skin, and some internal organs.
Vasculitis can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Which ones you have will depend on what blood vessels are involved and how serious the problem is.
Some common symptoms are:
For some people, the problem is short-term. For others it is long-term, or chronic.
This problem may also go away, only to come back again later.
The main goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation in the blood vessels.
Mild cases may go away on their own. Sometimes over-the-counter pain medicine helps. For more severe cases, a doctor might prescribe stronger medicine, such as a corticosteroid.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: March 20, 2017
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology & William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
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