Vasculitis

Symptoms: 

Some symptoms encountered, specific to various systems are:

  • Respiratory system - breathlessness, wheeze, dry cough or coughing up blood
  • ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) - hearing problems (deafness and or noises in the ear), nasal crusting, nose bleeds, sinus pain (which may be felt as headaches or pain in the face) or hoarse voice
  • Skin - rashes, ulcers, and necrosis (death of tissue)
  • Eyes - red (blood shot) eyes, painful, dry or gritty eyes, visual loss or other changes in vision
  • Joints - arthralgias (pain in joints), and joint swelling
  • Nervous system - loss of sensation, weakness, unusual painful symptoms in the hands and feet (hotness, pins and needles or "electric shocks") and rarely paralysis or stroke
  • Gastrointestinal system - diarrhoea, bleeding and abdominal pain
  • Kidneys/Renal - initially no symptoms. However urine dipstick tests will indicate problems with minute amounts of blood or protein in the urine. Occasionally blood may be seen in the urine (red or brown urine) or the amount of urine produced may suddenly reduce or stop altogether.
Tests to diagnose: 

The following tests are done:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine Tests
  • Imaging Tests (X-rays, ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET))
  • Biopsy
  • X-rays of your blood vessels (angiography)
Treatment: 

Treatment includes:

Medications are used to treat vasculitis:

  • Remission Induction therapy:  Usually requires a combination of immunosuppressive drugs to control the inflammation. (eg rituximab or infliximab sometimes called "biologic therapies")
  • Remission Maintenance therapy: Once the disease is controlled or in remission (indicated by improved symptoms and blood tests), the treatment is changed (usually after several months) and maintenance therapy is commenced.
  • Corticosteroids to control inflammation: Prednisone or Methylprednisolone (Medrol)

For more information visit the following websites

https://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases_And_Conditions/Vasculitis/

http://www.cssassociation.org/medical-experts.html