Vasculitis

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Vasculitis is a group of diseases that cause inflammation of blood vessels. Arteries and veins can be affected in several ways because each condition varies greatly. Arteries and veins are impacted by these diseases and each range in severity. Furthermore, most of these diseases can affect anyone. However, some do target specific groups of people.

Types of Vasculitis

The types of vasculitis vary, but they all affect the blood flow of arteries and veins. Poor blood flow can cause issues with organs, nerves, and other parts of the body. The severity of these diseases range as well and should be considered serious. Symptoms that may be found in all forms of vasculitis include shortness of breath, numbness or weakness in the hands or feet, and lumps or sores on the skin. Of course, not every vasculitis disease fits these symptoms.

  • Behcet’s Disease – Mouth ulcers, genital ulcers, and eye inflammation are the three common symptoms of this disease.
  • Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (EGBA) – EGBA affects lungs, skin, kidneys, heart, and nerves.
  • Cryoglobulinemia – This disease may be linked to hepatitis C or paraproteinemia. The most prevalent symptom is red dots on the lower appendages.
  • Giant Cell Arthritis – This is the most common form of vasculitis in North America and primarily affects those over the age of 50.
  • Henoch-Schönlein Purpura – This disease typically follows an upper respiratory tract infection, but not always.
  • Microscopic Polyangiitis – A form of vasculitis that affects small and medium-sized blood cells.
  • Polyarteritis Nodosa – This multisystem disease affects various organs and medium-sized arteries.
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica – Commonly associated with giant cell arteritis, polymyalgia rheumatica causes stiffness and pain in the shoulders and hips.
  • Rheumatoid Vasculitis – Patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis will often develop this form of vasculitis.
  • Takayasu’s Arteritis – Young women, are usually affected by this disease that targets the aorta.
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA) – The lungs, kidneys, and upper respiratory tract are often affected by this form of vasculitis.

Diagnosing and Treating Vasculitis

Most types of vasculitis do not have a known cause. It is theorized that genetics has a significant role in the diseases’ development. Vasculitis is known as an autoimmune disease, which attacks the arteries and veins. Some forms of vasculitis have been caused by medication or other diseases. Additionally, it can accompany another rheumatologic condition. However, it is not common.

Abnormal results in physical exams and symptoms will play a significant role in if Dr. Brionez will test for vasculitis. The best way to diagnosing this family of diseases is through an examination of a small piece of tissue, blood tests, and angiography. The doctor will primarily define the type of vasculitis by the affected organs and arteries.

The duration of vasculitis varies from short term to life long. That said, the best ways to treat the disease are with medication and steroids. Living with any of these diseases can be difficult because of the symptoms.

Call Our Clinic Today

Dr. Brionez is a professional in rheumatologic illnesses and can help patients live a more comfortable life. Above all, she wants to help patients feel like they can live healthy lives no matter what disease is affecting them. Give Advanced Rheumatology of Houston a call today at (281) 766-7886. Dr. Brionez will diagnose and help treat the symptoms of your rheumatologic condition.