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
There are many different forms of vasculitis, and each form can vary in symptoms, severity, and duration. All forms of vasculitis, however, can benefit from early detection and treatment provided by Dr. Baker.
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.
Treatment for vasculitis is dependent on multiple factors, including the type of vasculitis, which part of the body is affected, and the severity of the condition. Before providing treatment, it’s important for a rheumatologist to properly determine the exact form of vasculitis a patient is suffering from. To do this, the following tests may be performed:
- 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.
To learn more about vasculitis treatment, visit vasculitisfoundation.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I help fight against vasculitis?
A: As with other diseases, having knowledge and understand of vasculitis can help patients live with the condition. For example, knowing possible side effects for medication, eating a healthy diet, and exercise are easy ways to help deal with vasculitis.
Q: Who gets vasculitis?
A: Vasculitis affects people of both sexes and all ages. A few forms of vasculitis are more common in certain individuals than others. For example, one form of vasculitis primarily affects children, while another form only affects adults over the age of 50. Knowing which form of vasculitis they suffer from can allow patients to seek out treatment that is appropriate for them.
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.