Vasculitits is the condition characterized by an inflammation of blood vessels. Due to vasculitis, the walls of blood vessels develop changes and become weakend, thick, stretched and narrow. Vasculitis, also known as angiitis and arteritis, can be acute or chronic.
The cause of vasculitis is unknown and it can be diagnosed in people of all ages. Vasculitis is actually a group of disorders and includes many types of different severity. Some types of vasculitis may resolve without treatment while some form can be very serious and affect vital organs thus need to be treated promptly.
Symptoms of Vasculitis
Signs and symptoms of vasculitis depend on the affected organ and the blood vessel involved. General signs and symptoms of vascultitis include fever, fatigue, weight loss, pain in the muscles and joints, decrease in appetite and nerve problems such as numbness and weakness.
Types of Vaculitis
- Bachet’s syndrome. This condition causes inflammation and damage of arteries and affects moth, eyes, skin and genitals. This type of vasculitis is usually seen in people in their 20s and 30s. Common symptoms include mouth ulcers, eye inflammation, genital ulcers and acne-like lesions on the skin.
- Buerger’s disease. It is an inflammation of blood vessels in the hands and feet and causes reduced blood flow to these organs. The symptoms include pain in the hands, arms, calves and feet as well as finger and toe ulcers. This type of vasculitis is believed to be caused by cigarette smoking.
- Churg-Strauss syndrome. It is also called allergic granulomatosis and allergic angiitis and may involve lungs, skin, heart and kidneys. This type of vasculitis is associated with asthma and allergies.
- Cryoglobulinemia. This form of disease damages small blood vessels and causes purpura on lower extremities, arthritis and neuropathy. It is associated with hepatitis C infection.
- Giant cell arteries. It is common in people aged over 50 years and affects arteries in the head. Symptoms of this type of vasculitis include headaches, jaw pain, vision problems and scalp tenderness.
- Henoch-Schonlein purpura. This disease affects the skin, joints, bowel and kidneys and produces abdominal pain, blood in urine, joint pain and a rash on legs, feet and buttocks. It is most common in children.
- Hypersensitivity vasculitis. This form of vasculitis is caused by allergic reaction to a drug or infection. It causes red spots on the skin.
- Kawasaki disease. It is common in children aged under 5 years. This type of vasculitits causes fever, skin rash, eye inflammation and enlarged lymph nodes.
- Microscopic polyangiitis. This condition involves inflammation of small blood vessels in the kidneys, lungs and skin. It causes skin lesions, fever, weight loss, nerve damage and muscle aches.
- Polymyalgia rheumatica. It affects older adults and causes inflammation and pain in the large joints. The symptoms include stiffness and pain in the muscles of the hips, thighs, shoulders, neck and upper arms.
- Takayasu’s arteritis. This type of vaculitis damages large arteries and is common in young women. Common symptoms include lightheadedness, headaches, visual problems, decreased pulse and arm weakness.
- Wegener’s granulomatosis. It is an inflammation of blood vessels in the nose, sinuses, throat, lungs and kidneys. This form of vasculitis is accompanied with shortness of breath, nasal stiffness, chronic sinusitis, nose bleeds and recurrent ear infections.