Vasculitis Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Vasculitis Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Vasculitis is a term used to describe a condition in which there is inflammation of the blood vessels. This condition can attack any blood vessels in the body, both arteries, veins, and capillaries.

Arteries are the blood vessels responsible for carrying blood from the heart throughout the body. While veins are blood vessels that are responsible for carrying blood from all over the body back to the heart. Capillaries connect small arteries with small veins.

Vasculitis Symptoms

Symptoms of vasculitis vary widely, depending on the type of vasculitis suffered, the blood vessels affected, the severity of the disease, and so on. Symptoms that arise can be in the form of systemic symptoms, or symptoms in certain organs.

Meanwhile, systemic symptoms that arise can include fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, pain or aches all over the body. Symptoms related to certain organs that can appear, for example:

  • Skin. Red or purplish rash or bumps, clusters of spots, hives, and itchy skin.
  • joints. Presence of arthritis in the joints.
  • Lungs. Shortness of breath, coughing up blood, etc.
  • Digestive tract. Canker sores appear in the mouth, abdominal pain, lack of blood flow in the intestine so that the intestine is weak and ruptures.
  • ENT. Ear infections, sinusitis, hearing loss.
  • Eye. The eyes are red, itchy, sensitive to light, and vision problems occur.
  • Brain. Complaints of headaches, difficulty thinking clearly, changes in mental status, and stroke-like symptoms.
  • Nerve. Tingling condition, weakness in the body, numbness.

Vasculitis Reason

Most of the causes of vasculitis are unknown. However, there are several types of vasculitis caused by infections, both bacterial, viral and fungal infections, which attack the walls of blood vessels. In some cases, vasculitis can also be caused by an allergic reaction, for example to certain drugs or toxins/poisons. Vasculitis can also be caused by certain conditions, such as blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.

In systemic vasculitis, an important role of the immune system is found. This immune system plays an important role in human immunity, by protecting the body and providing resistance if there is infection or injury.

In vasculitis, an unknown trigger causes the body’s immune system to become hyperactive and triggers inflammation in the body’s tissues. Inflammation of the blood vessels can cause narrowing of the blood vessels. As a result, there is a barrier to blood flow to the target organ or tissue.

Vasculitis can be found in humans of different ages, races, and genders. You can be susceptible to vasculitis if:

  • Have certain medical conditions. For example hepatitis B infection or chronic hepatitis C.
  • Have an autoimmune disease. For example lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma.
  • Smoking.


The diagnosis of vasculitis is made based on a detailed history or medical interview regarding the signs and symptoms experienced, medical history, physical examination, and supporting examinations. Various investigations may be considered, to help diagnose vasculitis.

These checks include:

  • Blood tests, to see if there are abnormal blood cells or antibodies in the body. For example, examination of hemoglobin and hematocrit, anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and C-Reactive Protein (CRP).
  • Biopsy, taking a small piece of body tissue to be examined under a microscope. This examination can see signs of inflammation or tissue damage.
  • Blood pressure check, vasculitis can damage the kidneys and cause high blood pressure.
  • Urine analysis examination.
  • ECG and echocardiography.
  • Chest X-ray examination.
  • Lung function examination.
  • USG abdomen.
  • MRI, CT scan or angiography.

Vasculitis Treatment

Drugs that are generally used to treat vasculitis are corticosteroids and cytotoxic drugs. Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation in the body. Cytotoxic drugs help kill the cells that cause inflammation. However, specific therapy can be given according to the type of vasculitis suffered.

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