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Behcet’s Disease

Arthritis Northwest PLLC -  - Rheumatology

Arthritis Northwest PLLC

Rheumatology located in Spokane, WA & Spokane Valley, WA

Behçet's disease is a type of vasculitis in which your immune system attacks your blood vessels. At Arthritis Northwest PLLC in Spokane, Washington, the expert rheumatologists provide personalized care for Behçet's disease and other forms of vasculitis. This disease can be difficult to treat, so it’s important to seek the kind of expert care found at Arthritis Northwest PLLC. Book your appointment by calling the office today. Or, visit us online.

Behcet’s Disease Q & A

What is Behçet's disease?

Behçet's disease is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system damages your blood vessels.

Swelling and inflammation within your blood vessels can inhibit blood flow to tissues and organs. This can lead to varied symptoms in different parts of your body and, if left untreated, major complications In severe cases.

What are the symptoms of Behçet's disease?

Symptoms of Behçet's disease vary from person to person, but common ones include:

  • Mouth ulcers
  • Open lesions on the external genitalia
  • Acne-like nodules, cysts, or sores
  • Fluctuating eye symptoms, including eye redness, blurry vision, and eye pain
  • Bouts of joint swelling, often in the knees
  • Sporadic joint pain, often in the knees
  • Digestive difficulties, including stomach pain, diarrhea, and bloody stools
  • Impaired balance
  • Headache
  • Fever

If inflammation in your veins and arteries becomes so severe that it causes a blockage, you could suffer a stroke, blindness, or other complications. 

How is Behçet's disease diagnosed?

Behçet's disease is a complex disease with no single method of definitive diagnosis. The rheumatologists at Arthritis Northwest PLLC have extensive expertise dealing with vasculitis of all types, so you can be confident in their diagnostic abilities. 

Part of the diagnostic process involves ruling out other conditions, since other forms of vasculitis, for example, giant cell arteritis, have some of the same effects as Behçet's disease. 

One thing that sets Behçet's disease apart is the development of mouth ulcers. Virtually all Behçet's disease cases involve mouth ulcers, which is why your provider is likely to ask about recurrent mouth sores, with at least three flare-ups over a one-year period.

Along with mouth ulcers, the presence of two additional symptoms, such as genital sores, eye inflammation, or skin lesions, can help to verify a Behçet's disease diagnosis. 

To evaluate your symptoms, you may need blood tests at the in-clinic lab or a pathergy test to check your reaction to a skin prick. You might also need X-rays in the on-site imaging center.

How is Behçet's disease treated?

Because Behçet's disease occurs in flare-ups, you usually need help with symptom management during those times. 

Anesthetic or steroid creams, mouthwashes, and eye drops can all help with pain and swelling. You may need additional symptom-specific medications as well. 

In severe cases of Behçet's disease, you may need steady treatment to suppress the immune system and minimize inflammation. This usually involves oral corticosteroids or immunosuppressive medications. 

If you have treatment-resistant Behçet's disease, you may need biologic injections or IV infusions in the comfortable infusion room in the Arthritis Northwest PLLC office. 

You can achieve remission with Behçet's disease, but you need customized care to do so. Call Arthritis Northwest PLLC today to schedule an appointment. Or, visit us online.