What is Vasculitis?
Vasculitis is a general term which refers to inflammation of the blood vessels.? Vasculitic blood vessels are generally weakened and either increase in size or become narrowed.? There are many type of vasculitis affecting the different age groups.
Vasculitis may be generalized or may be restricted to certain organs of the body.? Weakened blood vessels may stretch and bulge, forming what is known as an aneurysm.? Sometimes, aneurysms may rupture, possibly causing death.
At other times, vasculitic blood vessels become inflammed and narrowed, reducing the blood supply to organs.? If this blood supply is severely reduced, the tissues of these organs may die.
What are the Symptoms?
These may be generalized symptoms of inflammation as a whole on the body, or may be localized depending on the organs affected.
Generalized symptoms: Fever, fatigue, loss of apetite and loss of weight.
Localized symptoms: Rash, tingling sensation in the limbs, muscle weakness, renal failure, heart attacks and strokes.
What Causes Vasculitis?
In most cases, the cause of vasculitis is not known.? However, in a number of cases, it may be caused by the following:
Autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sj繹gren's syndrome
What is the Treatment and Prognosis?
The treatment of vasculitis will depend on the cause.? If, for instance, it is due to an allergic reaction to a drug, then simply removing the offending agent may make the vasculitis resolve spontaneously.
In more serious forms of vasculitis, which affect major organs such as the brain, kidney or heart, then more aggressive treatment would be required.? Drugs used to treat this inflammation include corticosteroids and occasional chemotherapy drugs.
The prognosis of vasculitis depends largely on the type of vasculitis.? Once vasculitis is under control, doctors may cautiously withdraw medication, in the hope that there is cure, or at least? long lasting remission.?? However, as there is always a change of a recurrence, which may be unpredictable, it is important for patients with the more severe forms of vasculitis to be under regular review by their specialist.