What is Vasculitis?

It is an inflammatory disease of the vein. Due to autoimmune reasons, it is the inflammation that develops in the vessels that are responsible for providing the circulation necessary for the nutrition and functioning of the organs and tissues and the damage to these tissues. Vasculitides may sometimes be confined to a single organ or tissue, such as leukocytoclastic vasculitides confined to the skin. Or, they can be life-threatening by causing failure in many organs by affecting both the arteries, veins, large diameter and capillary levels, for example: Wegener’s granulomatosis, Churge-Strauss vasculitis, Polyarteritis Nodosa, Takayasu’ vasculitis.

They can give a wide variety of symptoms: numbness in the hands and feet, skin rash, shortness of breath, cough, bleeding with urine or stool, redness of the eye, sudden vision loss, sudden paralysis, edema.

What causes vasculitis?

It is known that genetic factors are very important in the development of vasculitis. However, the genes that are predisposed to suddenly start to produce proteins that will cause disease development depend on factors such as epigenetic factors, environmental factors, smoking, hepatitis B and C virus infection. The gene region, which has not been active until then, starts to work by being triggered by the epigenetic factor, and the protein structures it produces are perceived as foreign by our immune system, so it is tried to be eliminated, which causes the onset of inflammation and the development of inflammation.

Who gets vasculitis?

It can be seen in all genders and all age groups. Some types can be seen more in certain ages or genders. For example, Kawasaki Disease is more common in the childhood age group and Temporal arteritis is more common in the older age group.

How is vasculitis diagnosed?

A good history taking and examination is the basic diagnostic method. To support this, blood tests, advanced imaging tests and tissue biopsy may be required. These assays are necessary both to classify vasculitis and to identify the organs and systems it affects. Our treatment will be shaped according to these data.

Vasculitis classification is usually made according to the size of the affected vessel. Large vessel vasculitides: temporal arteritis and Takayasu, medium vessel vasculitides: polyarteritis nodosa, Kawasaki disease, small vessel vasculitides: ANCA-associated vasculitides (such as Wegener’s Granulamatosis, Churge Strauss Syndrome, microscopic polyangiitis), other rheumatic diseases and all types of vasculitis secondary to cancer vasculitides involving: Behçet’s disease, vasculitides in a single organ region: isolated central nervous system vasculitis….

How are vasculitides treated?

As soon as vasculitis is diagnosed, the first agent to be administered is cortisone preparations. They are the drugs that will prevent the progression of the disease and the development of organ-tissue damage the fastest. After the vasculitis typing is done and the distribution of the affected organ-tissue is determined, one or more of the long-acting agents, which we call DMARD, can be selected. Surgical intervention may be required in some cases with vasculitis.

Since the organ system involvements that can be affected by the diseases under the title of vasculitis are very wide, it is very important that the patients are followed closely, that they use the drugs regularly, that they do not reduce the dosage of the drug or stop the drugs completely without consulting the doctor. It is very important for them to fulfill all the life changes necessary and recommended for them to live healthy.

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