Vasculitis

Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center

Rheumatologist & Regenerative Medicine Physician located in Orange, CA & Laguna Hills, CA

Vasculitis causes inflammation in blood vessels and is the cause of about 100,000 hospital admissions every year. Experienced rheumatologist Behnam Khaleghi, MD, offers innovative treatments for vasculitis, including biologic drugs, at Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center in Orange and Laguna Hills, California. For cutting-edge vasculitis treatment, schedule an appointment online or by phone today.

Vasculitis Q & A

What is vasculitis?

Vasculitis is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack the tissues of your blood vessels. This causes inflammation that leads to blood vessel narrowing and restricted blood flow, which may, in turn, lead to tissue damage.

You can have vasculitis as a standalone condition, or it may occur with a rheumatic disease, such as lupus or scleroderma. There are many types of vasculitis, all of which are classified by the size of the blood vessels affected.

Examples of vasculitis types include:

  • Large vessel, such as giant cell arteritis
  • Medium vessel, such as Buerger’s disease
  • Small vessel, such as Behcet’s syndrome

Most types of vasculitis are rare. However, this condition can affect people of all ages.

What are the symptoms of vasculitis?

Signs and symptoms of vasculitis vary depending on the type of disease, the organs affected, and the severity of your condition. Common symptoms of vasculitis that affect your overall health include:

  • Fever and fatigue
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Body aches and pains

Vasculitis can also cause a range of symptoms in specific organs, including:

  • Kidney problems, including bloody or dark urine
  • Shortness of breath in the lungs
  • Red, itchy, or burning eyes
  • Joint pain or arthritis

Vasculitis can cause numerous other symptoms as well. For example, when blood vessels beneath the skin are affected, you may develop red or purple dots, bumps, or rashes.

How is vasculitis diagnosed and treated?

To diagnose vasculitis, Dr. Khaleghi begins by carefully reviewing your symptoms and medical history and performing a physical exam. He may also take tests, including:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • X-ray of your blood vessels
  • CT scan or MRI
  • Tissue biopsy

The tests you need depend on the type of symptoms you have. After he diagnoses your condition, Dr. Khaleghi develops an individualized treatment plan to control the inflammation. If you have an underlying disease that triggered vasculitis, such as lupus, Dr. Khaleghi addresses that as well.

Vasculitis treatment involves stopping the inflammation and preventing relapse. Both phases of treatment involve prescription medications, including steroids and biologic drugs such as rituximab and Actemra®.

If you think you may have vasculitis, call Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center or book an appointment online today.