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Behcet’s Disease Specialist

Arthritis Associates -  - Rheumatology

Arthritis Associates

Rheumatology & Arthritis located in San Antonio, TX

Behcet’s disease is a rare condition in which blood vessel inflammation can cause symptoms like open sores in areas as widespread as your mouth and genitals and eye inflammation and joint pain. The team of inflammatory disease experts at Arthritis Associates in San Antonio, Texas, offers patient-focused care with a sympathetic touch. For a tailored treatment plan, call the office or use the online appointment maker.

Behcet’s Disease Q&A

What is Behcet's disease?

Behcet's disease is a type of blood vessel inflammation (vasculitis). The disease causes bodywide blood vessel inflammation and symptoms. Although rare in America, Behcet's disease is fairly common in Asia and the Middle East. 

What are the symptoms of Behcet's disease?

Behcet's disease happens in flare-ups. Symptoms can come and go unpredictably, and you may have symptoms in many parts of your body, including:  

  • Sores inside the mouth
  • Acne-like bumps on the lower legs or other areas
  • Sores on external genitalia
  • Eye inflammation
  • Joint swelling and pain, similar to arthritis
  • Digestive symptoms like abdominal pain

Around half of people with Behcet's disease have joint pain and swelling (polyarthritis). 

With Behcet's disease, blood vessel inflammation can affect any vein or artery, including those in your large arteries. Some very serious complications that can occur include meningitis, stroke, and vision loss. 

What causes Behcet's disease?

The cause of Behcet's disease is currently unknown. Research shows that a particular genetic marker — human leukocyte antigens (HLA) B51 — may play a role in Behcet's disease. 

Researchers are exploring whether a virus or bacterium could trigger Behcet's disease if you have certain genetic markers. Behcet's may be an autoimmune disorder, in which your body attacks itself. 

How is Behcet's disease treated?

While Behcet's disease can cause a lot of uncomfortable symptoms, it's usually very manageable. The Arthritis Associates team typically prescribes medication to minimize symptoms during flare-ups. 

The exact approach depends on what symptoms you have. For example, skin symptoms may require topical cream, while eye symptoms require medicated eye drops. There are also prescription mouthwashes with corticosteroids for mouth sores. 

You may also need systemic medication, such as colchicine, to fight mouth and genital sores. Polyarthritis due to Behcet's disease may also improve with colchicine. 

Moderate-to-severe Behcet's disease may require oral corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, or, in severe cases, biologic medications. Because high-dose corticosteroids can lead to bone loss and osteoporosis, you typically need to taper the dose over time under the team's guidance. 

If you have serious eye inflammation or vision changes, you may need to see an ophthalmologist for advanced eye care.  

With the right approach, you can manage the symptoms of Behcet's disease and reduce your flare-ups. Call Arthritis Associates or click the online booking link for an appointment today.