Overview of Vasculitis
"Vascular" means having to do with blood vessels. "-Itis" means inflammation. So vasculitis is inflammation of blood vessels.
Vasculitis can affect any size or type of blood vessel
It may affect many blood vessels in many organs or just a few vessels in 1 or 2 organs
The inflamed blood vessels become narrow or clogged and don't deliver enough blood
Vasculitis can be caused by certain infections or drugs
You may have a fever and feel tired, then get other symptoms depending on which organs are affected
Doctors do a biopsy (take a sample of tissue from an affected organ) to look at its blood vessels
Doctors have you take corticosteroids or other medicines to limit inflammation
Vasculitis can cause general symptoms such as fever, night sweats, muscle and joint pain, weight loss, and feeling tired.
Other specific symptoms depend which blood vessels are affected, such as those:
You may need urgent treatment for these symptoms.
Vasculitis is uncommon. Doctors often don't suspect it when symptoms first develop. When certain combinations of symptoms last long enough, doctors may suspect vasculitis. To confirm you have vasculitis, doctors do:
You may need other tests to check which organs are affected. For example, you may have a urine test to see if your kidneys are affected. You may have an EKG/ECG to see if your heart is affected. If your lungs seem to be affected, doctors may do a chest x-ray and CT scan.