Vasculitis

Last Update : 01 April, 2015

This is one of the life threatening arthritis. It causes swelling of internal wall of blood vessels.

Vasculitis--CT scan lungs    Vasculitis--eyes  Vasculitis--skin


 

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes Vasculitis?

  • We do not know what causes most types of Vasculitis. Genetic factors (different genes) appear be somewhat important in the disease. Vasculitis is thought to be an autoimmune disease, which means the body comes under attack by its own immune system.
  • Some cases of Vasculitis are caused by reactions to medicines, infections, complication of cancer. It can be a part of other Rheumatic diseases mainly Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjögren’s Syndrome.

Who gets Vasculitis?

  • Vasculitis affects persons of both sexes and all ages.

What is Vasculitis?

  • Vasculitis is a term for a group of rare diseases in which inflammation of blood vessels occurs. These vessels include arteries and veins. Vasculitis can result in poor blood flow to tissues throughout the body and disturbance in function of these organs.

How long Vasculitis is treated?

  • It depends on type and severity of Vasculitis. Sometimes long term treatment is also required.

How is Vasculitis treated?

  • Treatment of Vasculitis is to remove or treat the underlying cause whenever known (e.g. treatment of cancer or stopping responsible drug)
  • Rheumatologists use Glucocorticoids, Cyclphosphamide, Methotrexate, Azathioprine or other immune-suppressing drugs to treat Vasculitis.

How is Vasculitis diagnosed?

  • Expert physicians suspect Vasculitis when a patient has symptoms and abnormal results of the physical exam/ lab tests or both; and there is no other clear cause. The affected organ or tissue biopsy (whenever possible) provides diagnosis.
  • Imaging study like CT scan, MRI and Angiography etc can be used if needed to diagnose the condition.

Is Vasculitis a critical illness?

  • Yes. Sometimes Vasculitis leads to life threatening complication.

What are symptoms of Vasculitis?

  • Vasculitis leads to two types of symptoms:
    General symptoms related to inflammation of blood vessels like fever, loss of appetite, multiple joint pain and weight loss
  • Related to poor blood supply to a particular organ:
    Cough/shortness of breath (lung), numbness or weakness (brain), red spots or rashes (skin) etc.

Food

    • There is no direct relationship of food with any arthritis except Gout.
    • Patients with gouty arthritis can take all vegiterian food including pulses. They should avoid non veg diet.
    • There is no relation of these diseases with sour food.
    • Sour food does not increase arthritis pain. The diseases does not improve after stopping sour food.
    • Arthritis patients should take healthy and easy to digest food according to their need.
    • Patients with involvement of joints of legs should avoid gaining weight.

Side Effects of Drugs

    • Side effects do not occur in most (90%) patients taking medicines used for arthritis.
    • Medicines are prescibed after considering patients age,weight, type/ seriousness of disease, associated other diseases etc.
    • It is taken care that minimum drugs in smallest doses are prescibed to the each patient.
    • Each and every complain occurring to the patients is not necessarily due to medicines.
    • Stop medicines if you suspect side effects.
    • Consult your family doctor immediately.
    • Later inform your rheumatologist or request your family doctor to speak to your rheumatologist.

Related Surgery

    • The patients whose joints are completely destroyed by arthrits and who face significant disability in carrying out daily activities despite adequate medicines need joint replacement surgery.
    • Commonly replaced joints include knees, hips, shoulders and elbows.
    • The patients who have arthritis related swelling in single large joint can undergo arthroscopic surgery.
    • Patients who have involvement of spine in arthritis may need surgery when their nerve root or spinal cord is compressed.
    • In properly selacted patients with deformed fingers and toes a specially trained surgeon can do corrective surgery.

Disclaimer : This patient fact sheet is provided for general education only. Individuals should consult a qualified health care provider for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment of a medical or health condition.

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