Vasculitis

The walls of the blood vessels can become weak and narrow causing inflammation. This condition is known as vasculitis. The blood vessels may become narrow or thick not allowing enough blood passing through it. This can seriously affect the organs that receive blood supply causing tissue damage. Vasculitis can occur for short term or for long period. It can be treated by proper medications. Vasculitis can develop in any organ but is common in the blood vessels of eye, skin and brain.

Causes :

What factor triggers narrowing of blood vessels is not known till now, but repeated infections can cause inflammation of blood vessels. Virus infection and certain kinds of allergic reaction can cause vasculitis. Certain factors can trigger the immune system of your body causing damage to your blood vessels. The immune system will mistake your own cells of blood vessels as foreign substances to attack and destroy them. When the blood vessels become narrow it will not allow required amount of blood flow thereby causing depletion of oxygen and nutrients to the organs. Having autoimmune disorder for extended period can cause vasculitis.

Complications :

Vasculitis can become life threatening in some cases when the walls of the blood vessels become fragile and ruptures and start bleeding inside. It can bulge overly causing aneurysm and death of tissues. Blood supply to the concerned organ may get totally depleted causing tissue death and organ failure.

Symptoms :

Depending on the organ that is affected by vasculitis, symptoms vary. It can cause skin rash if the underlying blood vessels of the skin gets affected. Vasculitis can affect the nervous system and also the underlying blood vessels of the brain leading to stroke or heart attack. Some of the general symptoms of vasculitis are fever, loss of weight, fatigue, severe muscle/joint pain and loss of appetite. In rare cases, the nerves of the organ can get affected causing numbness of particular organ.

Vasculitis can also cause Behcet’s syndrome (eye inflammation, acne and genital ulcers), Buerger’s disease (inflammation of extremities and ulcers on fingers/toes), Churg Strauss syndrome (inflammation of lungs) and condition called cryoglobulinemia (affecting hands/toes causing nerve damage). For some people vasculitis can cause Kawasaki disease (rash with high fever), Henoch Scholein purpura (affecting joints and skin), polyarteritis nodosa (affecting blood vessels of kidneys or heart), Takayasu’s arteritis and Wegener’s granulomatosis (affecting blood vessels of throat, nose, lungs and kidneys).

Diagnosis :

Your doctor will collect information about your general health condition and look for the above symptoms. He may order for blood test (to check the rate of erythrocyte sedimentation), urine analysis, and imaging tests like X-rays, CT/MRI scanning. Angiogram is done for checking the heart condition. In case he suspects any organ death he would do biopsy by cutting a small tissue of the affected organ and testing it on the laboratory.

Treatment :

Depending on the intensity of vasculitis and the organ it has affected, treatment methods may vary. Corticosteroids like prednisone are prescribed to manage swelling of blood vessels. It can cause side effects if you are taking it for long term. In case vasculitis is caused by weakened immunity medications like cytotoxic drugs are given to control the immune system. This medication is effective in treating vasculitis caused by granulomatosis.

Pictures of Vasculitis :

Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Vasculitis

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Lifestyle Changes :

Once you are diagnosed with vasculitis you need to accept the condition. Before taking any medication you can get second opinion to confirm the diagnoses. You should understand about the side effects of the medicine you are prescribed fully so that you can tell your doctor if there are any changes. Eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. You can take calcium supplement or Vitamin D supplement after consulting your doctor. Practice exercise regularly to prevent thinning of bones and to improve blood circulation.

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