Vasculitis: What is It and How to Treat It?

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
January 17, 2023

Sometimes certain diseases or conditions can have common, everyday symptoms, which makes them difficult to diagnose. The human body is both complex and simple at the same time. Something as common as a fever can mean numerous things. One condition you might not consider with this symptom is vasculitis.

Vasculitis occurs when blood vessels become inflamed. The blood vessel walls can thicken to the point where the passageway width narrows. While most situations aren’t serious, some cases could lead to tissue or organ damage. Here’s what you need to know about vasculitis and how to treat it.

What Are Common Vasculitis Symptoms?

As mentioned, the common symptoms of vasculitis are similar to many other conditions, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • General aches

While over-the-counter medication can make the symptoms improve, it’s important to pay attention to the severity. Some of the additional vasculitis symptoms can include:

  • Dizziness or sudden hearing loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Digestive system issues
  • Bleeding under the skin
  • Weakness or numbness in the hands or feet

While many of these symptoms will heal on their own, seek medical attention if any are concerning. The key to treating vasculitis effectively is getting diagnosed early, so don’t ignore any concerning symptoms.

What Does Urticarial Vasculitis Look Like?

Urticarial vasculitis is rare, and the cause is not completely known by medical experts. It shows up as red patches on the skin or even hives. These spots can burn or itch and cause temporary skin discoloration. Sometimes a simple antihistamine can treat the issue, but other times more extensive medical care is required.

Diagnosing urticarial vasculitis isn’t straightforward. Doctors must consider many factors, which may include lab tests and imaging studies. Urticarial vasculitis is associated with other diseases, so doctors have to rule out any underlying conditions. The symptoms are similar to vasculitis, but patients may also experience:

  • Joint pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tissue swelling
  • Kidney inflammation
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • And more

Causes and Risk Factors of Vasculitis

The causes of vasculitis often depend on an individual’s genetic makeup and unique medical history. Sometimes, the immune system can attack blood vessel cells due to various underlying conditions. Some of those underlying conditions could be blood cancer, reactions to drugs, infections, or immune system diseases.

Anyone can be at risk of developing vasculitis. While studies are still ongoing, some of the common risk factors include:

  • Family history
  • Drug use
  • Being prone to infections
  • Having immune disorders

In rare cases, vasculitis can cause organ damage, blood clots, and aneurysms. Other complications may include vision loss or weakening of the immune system. Visiting your doctor is the first step to getting the appropriate treatment for your situation.

Treatment Options to Consider

The most common vasculitis treatment revolves around managing underlying conditions and controlling inflammation. Corticosteroids are the most common type of medication prescribed to control inflammation. Your medical professional must determine the severity of your vasculitis so adverse side effects are not experienced.

In severe cases, surgery might be required to treat vasculitis. A bulge could develop and potentially cause an aneurysm. Surgery is often recommended in these situations to prevent the bulge from rupturing. And in some cases, blocked arteries require surgery to ensure blood flow is ideal.

South Valley Vascular gives patients peace of mind during times of uncertainty. Vasculitis often goes undetected before it’s too late. When you experience symptoms of vasculitis, it’s important to talk to your doctor. If they suspect vasculitis, then seeking treatment right away is highly recommended. Feel free to reach out to us to schedule an appointment and talk to our team about your symptoms.