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Arthritis Northwest PLLC -  - Rheumatology

Arthritis Northwest PLLC

Rheumatology located in Spokane, WA & Spokane Valley, WA

Vasculitis is a large group of conditions featuring blood vessel inflammation. The experienced rheumatologists at Arthritis Northwest PLLC in Spokane, Washington, are inflammation experts who can diagnose and treat all forms of vasculitis so you can enjoy an active life without pain or other debilitating issues. Call Arthritis Northwest PLLC to schedule your appointment today. Or, visit us online.

Vasculitis Q & A

What is vasculitis?

Vasculitis indicates inflammation in your veins or arteries. There are many forms of vasculitis, each with its own symptoms and disease progression. 

Untreated, vasculitis can cause dangerous changes within your blood vessels, potentially leading to blockages. Blockages can cause blindness, tissue death, organ death, and even death, so it's vital that you seek treatment for vasculitis as soon as you have any symptoms. 

What are common types of vasculitis?

Some of the many types of vasculitis are:

  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Behçet's disease
  • Buerger’s disease
  • Hypersensitivity vasculitis 
  • Central nervous system vasculitis
  • Isolated aortitis
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Cryoglobulinemia
  • Microscopic polyangiitis
  • Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Churg-Strauss syndrome)
  • Polyarteritis nodosa
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  • Henoch-Schönlein purpura
  • Takayasu arteritis
  • Urticarial vasculitis

Some of these types of vasculitis include multiple subtypes. 

Some forms of vasculitis occur as complications of other diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and Sjögren’s syndrome. Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disease that frequently occurs simultaneously with giant cell arteritis. 

What are the symptoms of vasculitis?

Although every form of vasculitis can have its own specific symptoms, some of the most common forms cause:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Vision difficulties
  • Digestive difficulties
  • Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
  • Hearing loss
  • Numbness in a specific body part, e.g., your hand
  • Weakness in a limb or body part
  • Rash

Many other specific symptoms can occur with vasculitis, depending on your condition. If you have any new symptoms that concern you, schedule an appointment at Arthritis Northwest PLLC for an evaluation promptly.

What is the treatment for vasculitis?

For most forms of vasculitis, the first-line treatment is a corticosteroid such as prednisone. Be aware that taking corticosteroids for extended periods can have side effects like bone loss. 

To minimize such effects, you taper the dose to the lowest effective amount of medication with a goal of discontinuing the corticosteroids in a few years or less.

You may also take medications like methotrexate to minimize inflammation while reducing your corticosteroid dose faster.

Arthritis Northwest PLLC also offers intravenous (IV) medication, plasma, or immunoglobulin (IVIg) in the office. Infusions may be an option if you have a severe form of vasculitis, such as polyangiitis, microscopic polyangiitis, or cryoglobulinemia. 

For the most severe vasculitis complications, you may need surgery to repair a blood vessel or reroute blood flow because of a blockage. Or, you could need surgery in an area affected by vasculitis. Early treatment helps you to avoid these serious complications.

For vasculitis evaluation and treatment, call Arthritis Northwest PLLC to book your appointment now. Or, visit us online.