Vasculitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of blood vessels, which can impact both capillaries and large arteries such as the aorta, the main blood vessel for blood leaving the heart. Inflammation causes the walls of the blood vessels to thicken, potentially leading to a narrowing of the vessel’s passage. When blood flow is restricted, it can result in damage to organs and tissues

Blood vessels that are inflamed may weaken and enlarge, which can result in aneurysms. Additionally, the vessels may get so thin that they burst, causing bleeding into the tissue. Blood vessels may narrow to the point of completely closing off (an occlusion) as a result of vasculitis. When the blood flow in a vessel affected by vasculitis is diminished or stopped, the tissues that depend on that vessel for blood supply experience damage and initiate a process of tissue death

Vasculitis manifests in various types, many of which are uncommon. It can involve multiple organs or be limited to a single organ. The duration of the condition can range from temporary to long term. 

Vasculitis can affect anyone, though some forms are more prevalent in particular age groups. Depending on the type they have, they might get better on their own. The majority of vasculitis types necessitate the use of medications to manage inflammation and minimize the occurrence of flareups.

The following types of Vasculitis include the following.

  • Behcets disease
  • Buerger disease
  • ChurgStrauss syndrome
  • Cryoglobulinemia
  • Giant cell arteritis 
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  • HenochSchonlein purpura
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Takayasus arteritis


Commonly, most types of vasculitis present with the following typical signs and symptoms

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Weight loss
  • General aches and pains 
  • Skin rashes

Additional symptoms may arise depending on the specific body part affected by vasculitis. When vasculitis impacts small blood vessels in the skin, it can lead to the rupture of these vessels, resulting in small spots of bleeding in the tissue. The following signs and symptoms are associated with the involved body parts:

  • Digestive system: The patient may have pain after eating if the stomach or intestines are involved. There is a chance of ulcers and perforations, which could lead to blood in the stool
  • Lungs: If the patient’s vasculitis affects their lungs, they may experience breathing difficulties or even cough up blood.
  • Eye: Vasculitis can result in redness, itching, or burning sensations in the eyes. In the case of giant cell arteritis, double vision and temporary or permanent blindness in one or both eyes may occur, which can serve as an initial indication of the disease.
  • Ears: There may be dizziness, ringing in the ears, and sudden hearing loss
  • Hands or feet: A hand or foot may become numb or weak due to some types of vasculitis. It’s possible for the hands’ and feet’s’ palms to swollen or harden.
  • Skin: Red spots on the skin may indicate bleeding under the skin. Lumps or open sores on the skin may also be brought on by vasculitis.

If individuals experience any worrisome signs or symptoms, it is advisable for them to schedule a medical checkup. Early detection is crucial for effective treatment of various types of vasculitis


The exact cause of vasculitis remains unknown. Certain types of vasculitis can be influenced by an individual’s genetic makeup, while others occur due to the immune system mistakenly attacking cells within the blood vessels. This immune system reaction may be triggered by various factors, including infections such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C, blood cancers, immune system diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and scleroderma, as well as certain drug reactions.

Risk factors

Anyone can develop vasculitis. Some factors that might increase the likelihood of developing specific diseases include

  • Age: Kawasaki disease is most prevalent in children under the age of five, but giant cell arteritis is uncommon before the age of 50.
  • Sex: While Buerger’s disease affects more men than women, giant cell arteritis affects women much more frequently.
  • Family history: Granulomatosis with polyangiitis, Kawasaki disease, and Behcet’s disease can sometimes occur in families.
  • Medications: Certain drugs, including hydralazine, allopurinol, minocycline, and propylthiouracil, have been known to cause vasculitis.
  • Immune disorders. Vasculitis risk may be increased in people with immunological diseases, which cause the body to wrongly attack itself. Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma are a few examples.
  • Infections: Vasculitis risk is increased if someone has hepatitis B or C.
  • Lifestyle choices: Cocaine use can raise the chance of getting vasculitis. Smoking increases the likelihood of developing Buerger’s disease, particularly in men under the age of 45.