What is vasculitis?
Vasculitis is a term for a group of rare diseases that cause inflammation of the blood vessels (arteries and veins). The different types of vasculitis vary in severity from mild to life-threatening, and vary in the part of the body affected.
How it affects the body
The condition causes inflammation in the wall of a blood vessel. Blood vessels include all the arteries and veins that deliver blood from the heart to all the organs. Any blood vessel in the body can be affected. The inflammation can cause the vessels to become thickened, weakened, narrowed or scarred. This damage may cause the vessel to stop functioning normally. The damage caused by vasculitis may be reversible or it may be permanent.
Diagnosing vasculitis is very difficult. Symptoms of vasculitis may suggest other illnesses. The evaluation for vasculitis may include blood work, biopsy, MRI, ultrasound and arteriogram.
Treatment may include medications such as steroids and other immune suppressing medications such as Cyclophosphamide, Azathioprine and Methotrexate.