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Vasculitis

Also called: Angiitis

Summary

Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels. It happens when the body's immune system attacks the blood vessel by mistake. It can happen because of an infection, a medicine, or another disease. The cause is often unknown.

Vasculitis can affect arteries, veins and capillaries. Arteries are vessels that carry blood from the heart to the body's organs. Veins are the vessels that carry blood back to the heart. Capillaries are tiny blood vessels that connect the small arteries and veins.

When a blood vessel becomes inflamed, it can

  • Narrow, making it more difficult for blood to get through
  • Close off completely so that blood can't get through
  • Stretch and weaken so much that it bulges. The bulge is called an aneurysm. If it bursts, it can cause dangerous bleeding inside the body.

Symptoms of vasculitis can vary, but usually include fever, swelling and a general sense of feeling ill. The main goal of treatment is to stop the inflammation. Steroids and other medicines to stop inflammation are often helpful.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Start Here

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (American College of Rheumatology) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in
  • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in

Treatments and Therapies

  • (Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center)
  • (Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center)
  • (Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center)

Related Issues

  • (American College of Rheumatology) Also in

Specifics

  • (Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center)
  • (Vasculitis Foundation)
  • (Vasculitis Foundation)
  • (Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center)
  • (Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center)
  • (Vasculitis Foundation)
  • (Vasculitis Foundation)
  • (Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center)
  • (Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center)
  • (Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center)
  • (Johns Hopkins University)
  • (Vasculitis Foundation)

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • (Vasculitis Foundation)

Find an Expert

  • (Society for Vascular Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health
  • From the National Institutes of Health
  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in

Children

Patient Handouts

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