Everything You Need to Know About Vasculitis

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
January 22, 2024

Vasculitis is a rare disorder with a wide range of causes and symptoms. While the health complications associated with vasculitis can be sincere, the condition is often treatable. Want to learn more? Here is everything you should know about vasculitis.

What is Vasculitis?

So, what is vasculitis, exactly? The term “vasculitis” is actually used to describe several different but similar conditions. Generally speaking, vasculitis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the patient’s blood vessels. This inflammation can restrict blood flow, leading to further complications such as organ and tissue damage.

While there are key similarities in all vasculitis cases, each case can be unique. Vasculitis can be either a short-term or long-term condition. In some cases, it may only affect one organ, while other patients experience more widespread effects.

What Causes Vasculitis?

Just as there are many different types of vasculitis, there are also many potential causes of vasculitis.

Complications from autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are among the most common causes of vasculitis. Other common causes include allergic reactions or infections stemming from hepatitis B or C or COVID-19. Other risk factors associated with vasculitis cases include age, lifestyle, and substance abuse.

While vasculitis can be caused by various factors, cases are relatively rare. Estimates suggest that fewer than 50 people out of 1 million are affected by vasculitis yearly. However, it is important to be mindful of the symptoms and risk factors of vasculitis if you believe you may be at higher risk.

What are the Most Common Vasculitis Symptoms?

As you may have guessed, based on the variety of types of vasculitis, vasculitis symptoms are also highly varied. Different types of vasculitis produce different symptoms depending on the severity and the affected area.

However, there are a few general vasculitis symptoms that can help you spot the condition early. These include:

  • Headache and fever
  • Aches and fatigue
  • Weight loss

Other symptoms vary, and not all symptoms will be present in all cases. However, some of the more common specific vasculitis symptoms may include:

  • Red, burning, or itchy eyes
  • Stomach pain, particularly after eating
  • Numbness in the feet or hands
  • Ringing in the ears or sudden hearing loss
  • Bleeding under the skin
  • Swollen lips or tongue
  • Shortness of breath or coughing up blood

In severe cases, vasculitis can result in stroke, heart attack, ulcers, or other severe health complications. For this reason, it is critical to seek a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible if vasculitis is suspected.

Vasculitis Treatment

While vasculitis can cause serious complications, it is also treatable. Proper treatment of vasculitis requires a professional diagnosis. A doctor will be able to diagnose the exact cause and type of vasculitis and thus can prescribe the most effective treatment.

Most vasculitis cases can be treated via medication, most commonly a corticosteroid. These medications reduce inflammation in the blood vessels, thus reducing the risk of damage to the surrounding tissue.

Other medications can be prescribed in addition to, or as a substitution for, corticosteroids. In rare cases, surgery may be required to treat vasculitis or repair damage caused by it.

Vascular Doctor Near Me: South Valley Vascular

A proper, timely diagnosis is a critically important first step in treating all cases of vasculitis. For residents of the Fresno, CA area, South Valley Vascular can help. 

South Valley Vascular’s team of doctors are the region’s leading experts on all types of vascular disorders and treatments. Do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about vasculitis symptoms, causes, and treatment.