Capable of affecting both sexes and patients of all ages, vasculitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. Like other autoimmune disorders, vasculitis occurs when a patient’s immune system begins attacking his or her own body tissues causing shortness of breath, fever, fatigue, and various nerve problems.
As a board-certified rheumatologist and internist in Beverly Hills, Dr. Susan Baker can help patients treat and fight vasculitis. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Baker, please call (310) 274-7770 today.
Vasculitis Causes and Symptoms
Rheumatologists aren’t completely sure what causes vasculitis, but genetic factors are thought to play an important role in the disease’s formation. What we do know is that vasculitis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body is mistakenly being attacked by its own immune system. Patients with vasculitis suffer from an immune system that is attacking their own blood vessels, causing inflammation and a various other symptoms.
Depending on the location of vasculitis in the body, symptoms of the condition can include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle pain
- Nerve problems
Vasculitis can affect any of the blood vessels in the body, including veins and arteries. When these blood vessels become inflamed, they can become narrow or even completely closed off. When this happens, various organs of the body can begin to suffer due to lack of blood flow and result in aches, pains, and potentially serious complications.
Certain forms of vasculitis can occur due to the presence of another disease. Called secondary vasculitis, this condition can occur in response to an infection, allergic reaction, and another immune system disease (rheumatoid arthritis, for example).
If you suffer from any of the symptoms typically associated with vasculitis, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Baker. Early diagnosis is paramount when treating the disease, and Dr. Baker can perform the necessary tests to determine which treatment option is best for you.
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Imaging tests
After diagnosing a patient’s vasculitis, a rheumatologist can begin providing treatment uniquely suited to each patient. In many cases, steroids and medications are used to treat the disease.
Corticosteroid drugs are often used to reduce inflammation in patients suffering from vasculitis, but because long-term use of these drugs can result in side effects, patients are typically prescribed lower doses for a limited amount of time. If symptoms don’t improve, patients may be treated with immune system medications.
Immune System Medications
If a patient’s vasculitis doesn’t respond to corticosteroids, Dr. Baker may prescribe immune system medications instead. These drugs dampen the immune system response, reducing inflammation and improving overall blood flow.
Regardless of which form of vasculitis a patient suffers from, it’s imperative that treatment is started early. If treatment is withheld, permanent damage to the organs can occur.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I help fight against vasculitis?
Q: Who gets vasculitis?
Contact Los Angeles Rheumatologist Dr. Baker Today!
With current treatment and technologies, the outcomes for patients with vasculitis are very good. As a board-certified rheumatologist in Beverly Hills, Dr. Susan Baker can provide her patients with accurate and proper treatment. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Baker, please call (310) 274-7770 or fill out an online contact form.
Next, learn about ankylosing spondylitis.