Vasculitis describes a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the blood vessels, including arteries and veins. It is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks blood vessels. There are many types of vasculitis. Most are rare and the causes are often unknown. Vasculitis can result in poor blood flow to the tissues in the body. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, numbness or weakness in the hand or foot or red spots, lumps or sores on the skin. You may also experience fevers, weight loss, fatigue or a rapid heartbeat.
Early detection is important to prevent permanent damage. Our rheumatologists will perform a physical exam and blood tests. A biopsy may be needed to make a diagnosis. Steroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation, but those often have side effects. Other medications that suppress the immune system and/or target autoimmune diseases may be helpful in treating vasculitis.