Vasculitis – Vasculitis is a a rare autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks blood vessels and the inflammation caused narrows the blood vessels. This disease is comprised of nearly 20 rare diseases that are characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels, which can restrict blood flow and damage vital organs and tissues.
Vasculitis is classified as an autoimmune disorder, which occurs when the body’s natural defense system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. Triggers may include infection, medication, genetic or environmental factors, allergic reactions, or another disease. However, the exact cause is often unknown.
- Muscle and/or joint pain
- Lack of appetite/weight loss
- Rashes or skin lesions
- Abdominal pain
- Eye pain and redness/blurred vision
- Chronic nasal, ear and/or sinus problems
- Shortness of breath
- Cough (or coughing up blood)
- Severe headaches
- Nerve problems, such as numbness, weakness, pain (neuropathy)
- Bloody or dark-colored urine, potentially indicating kidney problems
- General Vasculitis
- Behcet’s Disease
- Central Nervous System (CNS) Vasculitis
- Cogan’s Syndrome
- Cutaneous Small-Vessel Vasculitis
- Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis
- Giant Cell Arteritis (Temporal Arteritis)
- Goodpasture Syndrome
- Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis
- IgA Vasculitis
- Kawasaki Disease
- Microscopic Polyangiitis
- Polyarteritis Nodosa
- Polymyalgia Rheumatica
- Rheumatoid Vasculitis
- Takayasu’s Arteritis
- Urticarial Vasculitis
Vasculitis can affect any of the blood vessels of the body, including arteries, veins and capillaries. Symptoms depend on the organs and tissues affected, and can vary from person to person. Some forms of the disease are mild and may improve on their own, while others involve critical organ systems and may require lifelong medical care. Early diagnosis and treatment are extremely important to avoid potentially life-threatening complications.
It is common for people with vasculitis to experience periods of relapse and remission, so regular doctor visits and follow-up monitoring are recommended. Proper treatment and ongoing medical care can improve the quality of life and prognosis for people with vasculitis.
Churg-Strauss Syndrome (CSS) (also called Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangitis (EGPA) is a type of vasculitis. It is an autoimmune disease that inflames the small to medium sized blood vessels. The disease varies widely and each case looks different. There are three distinct phases of the disease. The initial prodromal (allergic) phase is often characterized by hay fever and adult onset asthma. During the eosinophilic phase various tissues of the body (GI tract, lungs and skin) accumulate eosinophils (a type of white blood cell that is a sign of allergy). During the final vasculitic phase the blood vessels become inflamed. This can lead to nerve damage and muscle wasting.
Meet Victoria, Lives with Vasculitis
ABOUT | Victoria Brenneman is an ADAPT Functional Health Coach and an AIP Certified Coach. She started her business Health Hope to support people with autoimmune disease as they change habits and move towards autoimmune wellness. In her past life she was an Edible publisher and is passionate about local food and cooking. She lives in Northern Indiana with her husband and is a mother to three children.