Vasculitis is inflammation of the blood vessels. Vasculitis may be acute, meaning it flares up and then goes away with treatment, or chronic, meaning it does not respond well to treatment and lingers for a long time. Some people have vasculitis with another type of tissue inflammation called granulomatous inflammation. They may also develop Wegener's granulomatosis (Wegener’s disease or GPA), which can damage the sinuses, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.
In severe cases, vasculitis can be life threatening — which is why it’s important to see a doctor if you think you’re having vasculitis symptoms. Dignity Health’s cardiologists can diagnose the cause and offer treatments for vasculitis in the Bay Area, CA. Find a Doctor and make an appointment today.
What is Vasculitis?
Vasculitis is inflammation that affects the arteries or veins. Your arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to the body. Your veins carry deoxygenated blood back to your heart and lungs for a fresh supply of oxygen.
There are three major types of vasculitis, grouped based on the type of blood vessel affected:
- Mostly large vessel vasculitis
- Mostly medium vessel vasculitis
- Mostly small vessel vasculitis
Sometimes, your immune system attacks your body’s own blood vessels, causing vasculitis. This can be triggered by:
- An infection
- A reaction to a medication
- An autoimmune disorder
- Certain types of cancer
Vasculitis can be mild and develop over a long period of time, or it can be severe and come on quickly. Symptoms depend on the parts of the body involved. If vasculitis occurs in the brain, you may have headaches or even paralysis. If it affects the blood vessels serving your joints, you may have aches and pains. If vasculitis affects your entire blood vessel system (also known as systemic vasculitis), you may feel tired and sluggish, develop a fever, and lose your appetite.
Vasculitis Treatments at Dignity Health
Your doctors will work with you to reduce blood vessel inflammation and stop the immune system from attacking the circulatory system.
Your vasculitis treatments may include:
- Medication, which is often the best and most effective treatment.
- Surgery, only if necessary, to treat certain vasculitis complications, including an aneurysm (a bulging artery), a damaged heart muscle, or kidney failure.
At Dignity Health we’re committed to finding the cause behind your vasculitis symptoms and finding a treatment plan that works for you.
Dignity Health offers vasculitis treatments in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.