Treatment of Vasculitis
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Department of Rheumatology
Department of Rheumatology
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Vasculitis is a condition which develops when blood vessels become inflamed. As a result of this inflammation, blood vessels become weaker. They also can stretch which can lead to either enlargement or reduction of blood vessels size.
There are many types of vasculitis. Some of them affect several internal organs at once, while other affect only brain, eyes or one of the internal organs. Manifestations of vasculitis depend on the severity of this condition. In some mild cases a person may not even know that he/she has vasculitis, while in others it can affect person's health greatly.
The exact cause of vasculitis has not been identified yet. There are many factors which can contribute to the development of this condition. Vasculitis can appear as a result of previous infection. Then, it appears as a response of immune system which starts to attack blood vessels in some specific place or in several places at once. A person may have had an infection a long time ago and develop vasculitis as its complication when infection had been treated completely. It is not known why this happens.
Also, vasculitis can come and go. In many cases, it resolves on its own, while in others it progresses for a certain period of time. People diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus can develop vasculitis as the abnormal response from their immune system.
In most cases vasculitis is a secondary condition. It does not appear if there had been to trigger. Symptoms of vasculitis mostly depend on which part of the body had been affected. If blood vessels of the brain were affected, there is high risk of stroke, if heart was attacked there is risk of heart attack and if vasculitis attacked the skin, a person may develop rash.
- Muscle weakness if muscles were affected
- Numbness if muscles were affected
- Rash if skin was affected
- Dizziness if brain was affected
- Nausea if brain was affected
- High blood pressure if heart was affected
- During a general examination, the doctor will ask if a person had experienced any infections lately. The doctor will also ask if a person had been diagnosed with any autoimmune diseases.
- A blood test is used to determine if there are any inflammatory processes in the body. It can also detect the source of inflammation and rule out infections which can cause similar symptoms.
- Depending on the organ which was affected a doctor may use imaging tests to examine an internal organ or general tests to examine the skin or eyes of a person.
- An X-ray angiography is used to examine the blood vessels and determine there is an inflammation. It shows if blood vessels became larger or less than normal.
- A biopsy can be sometimes used to examine the blood vessel in a laboratory.
- A person may receive a treatment of corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation brought by vasculitis.
- It is important to check-up the organ which was affected by vasculitis and treat any deviations from normal, if they appear.
- Chemotherapy and immunosuppressants can be used to reduce the response from immune system and normalize the function of blood vessels.