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Your body is a bustling city with regular traffic flowing through a network of highways. But what if there were roadblocks and narrowing along these highways? This is what happens with vascular disease, a condition that disrupts the smooth flow of blood throughout your body.

One particularly troublesome type of vascular disease is vasculitis, where the highways themselves become narrowed due to inflammation in the body. It can have serious consequences, potentially leading to organ damage and even internal bleeding. Don’t worry, this isn’t a one-way street to panic! This blog will be your guide, in navigating the causes, symptoms, and even the diagnosis of vasculitis. So buckle up, and let’s explore the fascinating (and sometimes frustrating) world of blood vessel health!

What is Vascular Disease?

Vascular disease is also known as vasculopathy, which affects the blood vessels. You can imagine blood vessels as highways in our bodies. On these highways, all our cells, nutrients, water, vitamins, and minerals are transported. It is like there is constant moving traffic on the highway, but when there is a vascular disease, there are problems moving this traffic on the highway. These problems might include plaque, which is usually made up of fat and cholesterol. But, again, this condition is quite difficult to decipher because there is not a single reason for it but a multitude of factors involved.

For instance, air hostesses usually suffer from varicose veins, a type of vasculopathy where we see bulging veins. Doctors have attributed this condition to the occupational hazard of standing too long. But, the condition has a complex mechanism that involves excess weight, hormone imbalances, the aging process, and blood pressure. In general, if the underlying reason is left unchecked, it can ultimately lead to blockage of blood flow in your arteries and veins.

There are several types of vascular diseases, like peripheral artery disease, carotid artery issues, venous disease, blood clots, and vasculitis. A few of them affect our arteries, and others affect our veins.


Vasculitis is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in your blood vessels. The swelling that occurs makes it hard for blood to flow through your affected vessels. Yes, it starts from one place in our body and then starts to expand. If left untreated it may lead to organ or tissue damage or even cause internal bleeding.

There are as many as 30 types of vasculitis, and almost all of them are rare. They can affect all the types of blood vessels in the body. Moreover, it can also vary depending on the population demographics we are observing. In general, the condition is seen in 30 to 50 people out of one million. This makes it an uncommon condition to appear in the population.

Types of Vasculitis

To summarize the many types of vasculitis, we are sharing each type of vasculitis and which body’s blood vessels are affected in a table format:

Type of Vasculitis

Affected Blood Vessels

Anti-glomerular basement membrane disease Lungs and kidneys
Behçet’s disease Mouth, eyes, skin, and genitals
Buerger’s disease Arms and legs
Central nervous system vasculitis Blood vessels in the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, myelin sheath)
Cogan’s syndrome Eyes and inner ears
Cryoglobulinemic vasculitis Skin, joints, peripheral nerves, kidneys, and liver
Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis Respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, skin, heart, nervous system
Giant cell arteritis Aorta and its major branches, blood flow to the optic nerve
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis Nose and throat area, lungs, kidneys
Hypersensitivity vasculitis Skin
Hypocomplementemic urticarial vasculitis Small blood vessels, low blood levels of certain proteins
Immunoglobulin A (IgA) vasculitis Skin, joints, intestines, kidneys
Kawasaki disease Blood vessels throughout the body, commonly the arteries
Microscopic polyangiitis Kidneys and lungs
Retinal vasculitis Eye
Takayasu arteritis Aorta

Symptoms of Vasculitis

The condition initially does not manifest itself at the site of inflammation, but there are systemic signs that are easily visible. The systemic signs of the disease include:

  • Fever
  • Headache and scalp tenderness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Body pain
  • Night sweats
  • Red-to-purple rashes
  • Nerve problems, like numbness, tingling and pain
  • Swollen, dry lips or tongue
  • Shortening of breath, or coughing up blood
  • Digestive system problems, like open sores in the mouth, diarrhea, vomiting blood, and pain in the stomach

Here, we would like to mention that there are close to 30 types of vasculitis, and the symptoms are going to differ depending on the blood vessels affected, the type of the condition, and the organs affected. There are a few other life-threatening conditions that are also possible, including:

  • Aneurysm, internal bleeding
  • Arrhythmia, irregular heartbeats
  • Coronary heart disease: inability to deliver oxygen rich blood to the heart
  • Deep vein thrombosis, blood clots in a vein
  • Heart attack
  • High & low blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke

Now, if we take a step back, we will find that this condition has the ability to affect all our body parts. It means it is a serious condition that, if overlooked or ignored, can come to haunt us later in life.

Note: If there is a diabetic patient, then it is highly recommended that they maintain proper hygiene and good metabolic control. If they suffer from an infection episode and do not seek immediate medical attention, it could lead to serious complications, including vasculitis. If left unchecked, then it could lead to complications where amputation could become the only solution.

Risk Factors for Vasculitis

Vasculitis can develop at any age and some types are more common among people at particular ages. For example:

  • Buerger’s disease occurs in males above 45 years
  • IgA vasculitis occurs in children more often
  • Giant cell arteritis affects above the age of 50 years
  • Kawasaki disease usually affects children under the age of 5
  • Takayasu arteritis has been reported in women between 20 and 40 years old.

A few types of vasculitis run in families due to a linked genetic angle:

  • Behçet’s disease
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  • Kawasaki disease

Race and ethnicity are other big factors that are common in certain races and ethnicity, including:

  • Behçet’s disease, which is common in individuals who have Turkish descent or in Asia.
  • Giant cell arteritis occurs at higher frequency in people with Northern European ancestry.
  • Kawasaki disease is common among Japanese descent children.

There are a few lifestyle habits that can put you at the risk of vasculitis, including

  • Smoking
  • Using illegal drugs

Other medical conditions are also known to trigger vasculitis, but the reason behind it is still unknown. The medical conditions include:

Diagnosis of Vasculitis

Diagnosis of vasculitis is difficult due to so many unknown factors contributing to blood vessel inflammation. There are a few types of vasculitis that cannot be diagnosed with a single test, but with a large repertoire of tests, they can be diagnosed. We are sharing a crisp list for you on how vasculitis is diagnosed:

  • Biopsy: A tissue sample is examined for signs of damage.
  • Blood tests: Check for cell levels and antibodies.
  • Chest X-ray: images of the lungs and large arteries.
  • CT scan: It can provide a detailed view of organs for signs of inflammation.
  • Echocardiography: Ultrasound to assess heart function.
  • Pathergy test (Behçet’s disease): Skin test for a specific reaction.
  • CT coronary angiography: Detailed imaging of blood vessels for damage.
  • PET scan: Detects narrowing and damage in blood vessels.
  • Ultrasound: Checks for narrowing and damage in blood vessels or organs.
  • Urinalysis: With this test, doctors will assess kidney function.
  • Fluorescein retinal angiography: Examines eyes for signs of vasculitis.

Treatment of Vasculitis

Don’t let vasculitis stop you from living your life! Though there’s no cure yet there are tools to combat this condition. Here are the main ways to manage vasculitis and keep it in check;

  • Reduce inflammation: Corticosteroids play a role in lowering inflammation in your body.
  • Balance the system: Certain medications help regulate your system and prevent it from attacking your blood vessels.
  • Address additional symptoms: Depending on your needs a tailored mix of medications may include pain relievers, blood pressure medications, or cholesterol lowering drugs to provide relief and avoid complications.
  • Plasma exchange: In some situations, doctors may suggest plasma exchange to remove antibodies and immune complexes from the bloodstream.
  • Explore cell therapy: Advanced treatments like stem cell therapy from cords are being studied to control your body’s response and possibly achieve long term recovery. Exosome therapy can also be used to reduce inflammation and aid in healing.

Remember, these are just a few tools available to your healthcare team. Depending on how serious and where your vasculitis is, you may need treatments such as angioplasty to clear blocked arteries or bypass surgery to make new paths for blood flow.


Don’t let roadblocks in your blood vessels slow you down! Vasculitis may not have a cure yet, but powerful tools exist to manage it. Medication might be the first choice, but if the condition grows out of control, you can choose regenerative medicine to improve your vascular health. But, early intervention is required to effectively manage and treat the condition. It is really important for you to be proactive about their health and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

If you are looking for a place to start gathering information, you can pick up your phone call +91-965-4321-400 and speak with our healthcare expert to start making informed decisions.