What is Vasculitis?

Also known as angiitis and arteritis, vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels that causes changes in the vessel walls, including thickening, weakening, narrowing, and scarring. This restricts blood flow, resulting in organ and tissue damage.

There are many types of vasculitis, including Behcet’s disease, large vessel syndromes (such as Takayasu vasculitis), medium vessel syndromes, and small vessel syndromes. Vasculitis might affect just one organ, such as the skin, or it may involve several. The condition can be short term (acute) or long lasting (chronic).

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of vasculitis vary greatly and are often related to decreased blood flow throughout the body. Generally, most vasculitis types include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • General aches and pains
  • Night sweats
  • Rash
  • Nerve problems, such as numbness or weakness
  • Loss of a pulse in a limb

Treatment

Depending on the type, vasculitis symptoms may improve without treatment. Medications can also control the inflammation and prevent flare-ups.