- According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), vasculitis means inflammation of the blood vessels. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the veins, arteries, and small capillaries.
- Inflammation is the natural response of our immune system to injury or infection. But in vasculitis, for some reason the immune system attacks healthy blood vessels, causing them to swell and narrow. The NHS said it may be triggered by infection or medication, although often the cause is unknown.
- The symptoms of vasculitis depend on the specific type and severity of the condition. Common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, rash, aches, pains, and fever.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the US Department of Health and Human Services states that age, ethnicity, family history and lifestyle factors such as smoking and illicit drug use may contribute to the risk of vasculitis. In addition to these, certain medications for high blood pressure, thyroid disease and infections can also contribute to this, the NIH adds.
- Treatment of the disease is aimed at reducing inflammation. Doctors begin treatment with over-the-counter medications, but severe cases are treated with steroid medication or other drugs that reduce the activity of the immune system.
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