Rheumatology & Arthritis located in San Antonio, TX
Vasculitis is an inflammatory condition of your blood vessels that can cause severe tissue damage. If you have vasculitis and find the symptoms hard to manage, the rheumatology experts at Arthritis Associates in San Antonio, Texas, can help. They have considerable experience diagnosing and treating all types of vasculitis and offer advanced therapies to prevent any complications. For relief from your vasculitis symptoms, call Arthritis Associates to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.
What is vasculitis?
Vasculitis is a condition where inflammation develops in your blood vessels. Inflammation thickens the walls of the blood vessels and limits blood flow, resulting in tissue and organ damage.
The most common form of vasculitis is temporal arteritis, also called giant cell arteritis or Horton’s arteritis. It affects the arteries in your head, particularly the temporal artery.
Temporal arteritis mainly affects people over the age of 50, and it often occurs alongside polymyalgia rheumatica, another rheumatic condition.
There are several other forms of vasculitis, but most of them are relatively rare. Along with temporal arteritis, the team at Arthritis Associates also treats:
- Kawasaki disease
- Behcet's disease
- Churg-Strauss syndrome
- Buerger's disease
- Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
- Henoch-Schonlein purpura
- Takayasu's arteritis
Vasculitis can affect one or several organs and may last a short time or become a chronic problem.
What symptoms does vasculitis cause?
General signs of vasculitis include fever, fatigue, headache, unexpected weight loss, and aches and pains. Other symptoms can affect specific parts of your body, depending on where the vasculitis occurs. Examples include:
- Pain after eating
- Stomach ulcers and perforations
- Blood in the stool
- Ringing in the ears
- Abrupt hearing loss
- Red, itchy, or burning eyes
- Double vision
- Temporary or permanent blindness
- Numbness or weakness in your hand or foot
- Swollen, hardened palms and soles
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Bleeding under the skin
- Lumps or open sores
The reasons why vasculitis occurs aren't entirely clear. Some cases may have a genetic link, while autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, and systemic sclerosis can also trigger the condition.
Infections such as hepatitis B and C, reactions to certain drugs, and blood cancers can sometimes lead to vasculitis.
What treatments can help with vasculitis?
Vasculitis treatments aim to control and reduce inflammation in your blood vessels and manage the underlying conditions responsible where they're present. The team at Arthritis Associates might recommend medications for you, including:
Corticosteroid drugs like prednisone help reduce inflammation, but they need to be used with care to prevent side effects and long-term damage.
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate helps to suppress your immune system response.
Immunosuppressants like azathioprine, mycophenolate, and cyclophosphamide also affect the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Biologics like rituximab and tocilizumab have a similar effect to traditional DMARDs but can target the specific elements of your immune system responsible for inflammation.
Some patients with vasculitis develop an aneurysm, which is a ballooning of the blood vessel wall. An aneurysm may require treatment using coiling to block the blood flow and prevent a potentially life-threatening rupture.
If you have vasculitis, make sure you receive the optimal treatment by calling Arthritis Associates or booking an appointment online today.
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