At King’s, our physicians have decades of experience in treating vasculitis and are highly skilled in managing patients with this condition.
Overview: What is Vasculitis?
Vasculitis refers to a condition caused due to the inflammation of the blood vessels. It causes abnormal changes in the walls of the blood vessels such as thickening, narrowing, weakening, and scarring. These changes result in the restriction of the blood flow leading to damage to the organs and tissues.
Why does Vasculitis occur?
The exact causes of vasculitis are not known. Some types of vasculitis are genetically linked while some result from the abnormal response of the immune system leading to the destruction of the blood vessels.
The possible triggers for the abnormal immune system response include:
- Blood cancers
- Infections like hepatitis B and hepatitis C
- Pre-existing immunological diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma
- Side effects of some medications
What are the symptoms of Vasculitis?
The symptoms of vasculitis may vary among different patients. The symptoms are often related to the reduced blood supply to specific organs.
The common signs and symptoms of vasculitis include:
- General pains and aches
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Skin rashes
- Nerve problems like weakness and numbness
What are the risk factors for Vasculitis?
Vasculitis can affect people of any age, sex, and race. However, some factors may increase the risk of developing this condition, such as:
- Having autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma
- Having hepatitis B or C infection
Treatment of Vasculitis
The treatment of vasculitis is aimed at controlling inflammation using medications and correcting any underlying diseases that can trigger inflammation and cause damage.
- Corticosteroid drugs like prednisone and methylprednisolone may help to control inflammation.
- Steroid-sparing drugs may be used in combination with corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and allow patients to taper the doses of corticosteroids more quickly.
- Biologic therapies using rituximab and tocilizumab may be recommended in some patients depending on the specific form of vasculitis.
Surgical interventions may be needed when vasculitis causes a bulge or aneurysm in the walls of the blood vessels.
Proper treatment with the help of medications and surgery, when appropriate, can help patients avoid frequent flare-ups associated with vasculitis and avoid the complications of this condition.
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