Vasculitis is inflammation of any or all of the blood vessels in your body. Vasculitis can affect the arteries, which carry oxygen-rich blood to the body, or the veins, which carry oxygen-poor blood back to your heart and lungs for a fresh supply of oxygen. In severe cases, vasculitis can be life threatening.
There are many types of vasculitis. Medically, these are grouped based on the type of blood vessel affected. The major groups of vasculitis are:
- Mostly small vessel vasculitis
- Mostly medium vessel vasculitis
- Mostly large vessel vasculitis
Vasculitis may be chronic, meaning it does not respond well to treatment and lingers for a long time, or acute, meaning it flares up and then goes away with treatment
If you are at risk of developing vasculitis in Stockton or a surrounding area, the cardiologists at St. Joseph's Heart & Vascular Institute can help you with everything from diagnosis to treatment and recovery.
Vasculitis Causes & Symptoms
Vasculitis is caused when your immune system attacks your body’s own blood vessels. This can be triggered by a reaction to a medication, certain types of cancer, an underlying autoimmune disorder, or an infection.
The signs of vasculitis depend on which body systems are involved. For instance, if vasculitis occurs in the blood vessels of the brain, you may have symptoms like paralysis or headache. If vasculitis affects the blood vessels that serve your joints, you may experience aches and pains.
If vasculitis affects your entire blood vessel system (called systemic vasculitis), you may notice you feel tired and sluggish. You might develop a fever or lose your appetite.
Vasculitis can be mild and develop over a long period of time, or it can be severe and come on quickly.
Treating Vasculitis in the Stockton Region
Our professional treatment of vasculitis aims to reduce blood vessel inflammation and stop the immune system from attacking the circulatory system. Medication is often the best and most effective treatment.
Surgery generally is not a treatment for vasculitis, though it may be necessary to address certain complications of vasculitis, such as kidney failure, an aneurysm (a bulging artery), or a damaged heart muscle.
Trust the highly trained experts at Dignity Health to provide comprehensive care that sees to your overall well-being.
The Morrissey Family Heart & Vascular Institute treats vasculitis in the Stockton region.