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3 Telltale Symptoms of Vasculitis

Vasculitis -- also known as angiitis or arteritis -- is a rare but potentially life-threatening condition in which the lining of your blood vessels becomes inflamed. The inflammation causes your blood vessels to grow thicker, so your blood has less space to flow and weakens them, too. 

When your blood flow is restricted, you could experience serious health consequences, including organ damage. Vasculitis may attack you just once or become a chronic health concern. To control your vasculitis symptoms, you may need professional support and medication.

Our expert team of rheumatologists and immunologists at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, LLC, diagnose vasculitis at our Manchester, Connecticut, and Middletown, Connecticut offices.  We then put together a care plan to handle your outbreaks or chronic vasculitis. 

Why your blood vessels are inflamed

Some populations have a higher risk of vasculitis, which comes in several varieties, such as Kawasaki disease.  While the exact cause of vasculitis is still unknown, the condition appears to relate to an overactive immune system, which causes your body to attack its own blood vessel cells. Vasculitis may be related to:

Smoking tobacco and other habits that cause inflammation also increase your risk of vasculitis.

Why decreased blood flow is dangerous

Without a constant flow of fresh, oxygenated blood, your organs and tissues can’t get the essential nutrients they need to maintain your vital functions. Severe vasculitis can result in major organ damage, aneurysms or blood clots, or serious infections.

If you suspect that you have vasculitis, keep track of any unusual physical or experiential changes. Get in touch with our team as soon as possible for an evaluation and diagnosis.

What to look for

Many of the symptoms of vasculitis occur because of decreased blood flow. Although vasculitis can cause a range of diffuse symptoms -- ranging from insomnia to weight loss -- three telltale symptoms are a warning sign that your blood vessels should be investigated and treated:

1. Shortness of breath or fatigue

When your blood vessels are inflamed, weak, and narrow, they don’t efficiently deliver oxygen and nutrients to your organs, including your lungs. Never ignore shortness of breath or unexplained fatigue. Both could be signs of serious illness, including vasculitis.

2. Numbness or tingling in your extremities

Weakened, thickened blood vessels cut off blood flow to your nerves and to your extremities, too. Just as sitting on your foot might cause it to fall asleep and feel tingly and numb, so can the constantly reduced flow of blood to your legs, feet, hands, or arms.

3. Lumps or sores on your skin

When your blood vessels are weak and thickened, they may leak blood that causes lumps and ulcers. You might also notice red spots, which signal that the blood vessels underneath your skin are damaged.

You may have one, two, or all of the telltale symptoms of vasculitis. Symptoms that could accompany the telltale signs or appear on their own include:

You might not have any symptoms at all.  That’s why regular medical exams are an important element of your self-care. We help restore your blood vessels’ health with anti-inflammatory medications and lifestyle recommendations.

Don't delay a medical evaluation if you have the telltale signs or symptoms of vasculitis. Prompt treatment is necessary to avoid potentially dangerous complications. You can schedule an appointment with a member of our care team by contacting our office today. We adhere to all COVID-19 safety guidelines to ensure your safety and health.

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