Vasculitis (inflamed blood vessels) can occur in children and adults and damage nearly any organ and tissue in the body. Constantine K. Saadeh, MD, FAAAAI, FACP, FACR, Nicole Davey-Ranasinghe, MD, FACP, FACR, and the Allergy A.R.T.S. team in Amarillo, Texas, has extensive experience diagnosing this complex condition, which includes nearly 20 diseases. Once diagnosed, they create personalized treatments that help restore your health and maintain long-lasting wellness. If you have ongoing symptoms like fatigue, headaches, skin rashes, and body aches, don’t wait to call the office or use online booking to schedule an appointment.
Vasculitis includes many conditions, but they all cause inflammation in arteries and, less often, veins. Without treatment, long-term inflammation damages the affected vessels, restricting blood flow. The lack of blood damages the tissues and organs served by the affected artery.
Many people develop vasculitis when their immune system attacks blood vessels (autoimmune disease). Infections and chronic diseases such as lupus, hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjögren’s syndrome can also lead to vasculitis.
An allergic reaction to medication may cause drug-induced vasculitis.
Many people experience general fatigue and body aches. Otherwise, your symptoms depend on the damaged body area.
These are only a few of the most common vasculitis symptoms:
Giant cell arteritis (GCA), the most common type in people over 50, causes headaches because it affects arteries in your head and scalp, especially your temples. GCA often occurs with polymyalgia rheumatica, a condition that causes painful joints.
Your Allergy A.R.T.S. provider may suspect vasculitis based on your medical history, symptoms, and physical exam. To verify your diagnosis and determine the type of vasculitis, they run diagnostics, such as blood tests and imaging studies (CT scan, MRI, or X-rays).
Some vasculitis types are identified through a blood test. Others are diagnosed through angiography, a specialized X-ray that reveals blood vessel problems. And some are only detected through a biopsy.
The first line of treatment includes corticosteroid medications to reduce inflammation. More serious vasculitis requires medications that suppress the immune system.
Your provider may recommend drugs like methotrexate or one of today’s innovative biologic agents that target specific parts of the immune system.
In severe cases, your Allergy A.R.T.S. provider may recommend additional treatments. For example, you may need a plasma exchange (plasmapheresis) or infusions of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG).
IVIG reduces inflammation, while plasmapheresis uses a machine to take blood from your body, eliminate cells causing inflammation, then send it back to your body.
Call Allergy A.R.T.S. or use online booking to request an appointment and get expert care for vasculitis.