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Angiitis, also known as vasculitis and arteritis, is a rare condition that refers to inflammation of the blood vessels. The inflammation causes the blood vessel walls to constrict, preventing the flow of blood. Angiitis may arise if an individual’s immune system accidentally turns on his blood vessels. This condition may occur due to an infection, medication, or certain conditions.
People of any age, race, or gender may be affected by angiitis. However, a person with an autoimmune disorder such as lupus, arthritis, or scleroderma may be more susceptible to the condition. Other factors, such as smoking or having a chronic hepatitis B or C infection, may also make an individual more prone to vasculitis.
Signs and symptoms of angiitis differ, depending on the type and organs affected. One person may have almost no symptoms while another individual will become very ill. Also, signs and symptoms of the condition can develop slowly or occur within a matter of days or weeks.
Typical syndromes include fever, fatigue, loss of weight, and general soreness. Angiitis can affect a wide range of body parts, including skin, joints, lungs, eyes, nerves, and even the brain. A variety of tests can help diagnose the condition. Some of the most common ways to make a diagnosis includes a blood test, biopsy, urinalysis, and magnetic resonance imaging.
Treatment for angiitis aims to decrease the inflammation in the blood vessels and repressing the immune system. Curbing vasculitis depends on how severe the condition is and what are organs are affected. Individuals afflicted with a mild form of the condition generally may be treated with over-the-counter medication, including aspirin or acetaminophen.
Severe forms of angiitis generally can be treated with prescription cortisone-type medications. Corticosteroids assist to lower the swelling in blood vessels. If cortisone-related medicine does not work, cytotoxic medicines that destroy the cells responsible for the inflammation may be prescribed. Very rarely is surgery used to treat the condition. In some severe cases, surgery may be needed to eliminate abnormal protuberances in the lining of the blood vessels.
Treatment often proves effective against vasculitis. If the condition is caught early and treated immediately, arteritis often goes into remission. However, in some cases, the condition may return or in some instances never enters admission and an individual will require treatment for the rest of his life. In very rare cases, a person may not respond to treatment and the condition may cause death.