Vasculitis: what it is, types, symptoms, treatment

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vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels which can affect different parts of the body, causing different symptoms. These inflammations can be classified as primary or secondary, and the primary ones appear in people without known health problems, and secondary ones arise as a result of another condition that can cause inflammation of the vases.

The symptoms of vasculitis are directly related to the organ affected. Treatment of vasculitis varies from one individual to another and may include lifestyle changes and the use of medications such as corticosteroids.

Read too: Hepatitis — a disease characterized by inflammation in the liver

Summary on vasculitis

  • Vasculitis is inflammation of a blood vessel.

  • Vasculitis can cause the vessel to rupture, block it and form thrombi that can cause ischemia.

  • Vasculitis can be localized or systemic.

  • When only one organ or tissue is affected, we call it localized vasculitis.

  • When it affects several parts of the body, it is called systemic.

  • Vasculitides can be divided into two groups: primary and secondary.

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  • When they appear in people who do not have health problems, they are primary.

  • When they appear in people who already have health problems, they are secondary.

  • The symptoms of vasculitis are related to the affected organ.

  • Treatment of vasculitis may involve lifestyle changes and the use of certain medications.

What is vasculitis?

Vasculitis is the name given to a group of diseases, generally rare, characterized by inflammation in the wall of the blood vessel. The inflammatory process in the blood vessel wall can cause it to rupture, obstruct it and the formation of thrombi that can cause ischemia. Due to the fact that blood vessels are present throughout the body, it is possible that the disease affects different organs and systems of the body, causing different symptoms.

This inflammation is called located when it occurs in isolation, affecting only one organ or tissue. the denomination of systemic is given to vasculitis in which inflammation of blood vessels in several organs and systems is observed simultaneously. Vasculitis can affect both small and larger vessels.

types of vasculitis

Vasculitides can be divided into two groups.

primary vasculitis

The primary vasculitis has little known cause and, according to the Brazilian Society of Rheumatology, it occurs when the blood vessel is the main target of the disease. Primary vasculitis may affect only one organ or tissue or occur simultaneously in several organs and systems.

In the latter case, the vasculitis is called primary systemic vasculitis and is an incurable problem. Treatment is based on controlling the disease, which may present short or long-lasting remissions.

secondary vasculitis

Unlike primary vasculitis, secondary vasculitis affects the vessels, however, this involvement relates to another condition that may have triggered the inflammation of the vessels. This means that vasculitis is a manifestation of an already known disease.

Autoimmune diseases, some types of drugs and neoplasms can cause vasculitis. As in cases of primary vasculitis, there are also secondary systemic vasculitides, which must be treated with the associated disease in mind.

symptoms of vasculitis

A close-up view of a person's leg with patches of skin that have arisen as a result of vasculitis.
In the image, it is possible to perceive the presence of spots on the skin that have arisen as a result of vasculitis.

Vasculitis can cause different symptoms depending on the organ that is affected. Here are some symptoms and the part of the body affected in each situation:

  • Skin: one of the symptoms of the involvement of skin vessels is the appearance of spots, which are more often purplish.

  • Kidney: kidney involvement can cause blood to appear in the urine.

  • intestine: abdominal pain and blood in stool may arise in those who have affected bowel vessels.

  • Nose: when the inflammation of vessels occurs in the nose, one can observe sinusitis applicants and also the development of ulcers nasals.

  • Ear: Ear inflammation can often occur in people who have vasculitis in this area.

  • Eyes: Double vision, red eyes, eye pain and difficulty seeing are symptoms seen in vasculitis affecting the eyes.

  • Lung: Involvement of lung vessels can cause shortness of breath, coughing and even coughing with blood coming out of the mouth.

  • joints: when vasculitis affects the joint, a person may experience joint pain.

  • nerves: when vasculitis affects the nerves, muscle weakness and tingling sensation may be observed.

in the case of systemic vasculitis, that is, in those in which several parts of the body are affected, the development of symptoms such as fever, tiredness and joint pain. The person may also experience weight loss and lack of appetite.

See too: Ulcerative colitis — a disease characterized by inflammation of the lining of the intestine

Diagnosis of vasculitis

To confirm a case of vasculitis, the doctor may order different tests. For example, blood tests can be requested, as well as imaging exams, such as tomography and resonance. In some cases, it is necessary to carry out biopsy.

treatment of vasculitis

Vasculitides are related to different causes, and their symptoms are quite varied. Therefore, there are different treatments for the problem.

For example, changes in the patient's lifestyle are recommended, such as changing your diet, avoiding stressful situations and quitting smoking. The doctor may also recommend rest. Some medicines may be recommended, such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressants and immunoglobulins. The best treatment to be adopted will be recommended by the doctor after evaluating the type of vasculitis and the degree of involvement of the patient.

By Vanessa Sardinha dos Santos
Biology teacher

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