Before diagnosis and treatment, symptoms may include unexplained joint and muscle pain, weight loss, fever (especially at night), skin lesions, ulcers, and general malaise and fatigue.

Because these are commonly symptoms of a bad infection, it can be difficult to diagnose Vasculitis.

When these symptoms do not respond to anti-biotic treatment, and further disease specific symptoms appear (ie upper respiratory and sinus problems, crusting in the nose and unexplained nose bleeds, in the case of Wegener’s Granulomatosis Vasculitis or Granulomatosis  Polyangiitis as it is now known), a diagnosis of Vasculitis should be considered.

Early diagnosis and treatment is very important to avoid irreversible organ damage. Because these are systemic diseases, they can affect the body all over, new symptoms appear and disappear – it is part of the illness and how it behaves, it is better to seek advice early and get appropriate treatment, in order to prevent damage caused by new areas of inflammation. However, your doctor will decide whether a new symptom has anything at all to do with your vasculitis. It is always better to have over-reacted than to ignore a new or persistent symptom.

As you become more aware of how your vasculitis affects you as an individual, then you appreciate that worsening of these symptoms may be a sign of a flare, and when symptoms are an infection rather than a flare. Either way, you need to tell your doctor.

Treatment and careful management can get the disease into remission- a non active state, and this can last for months or years. It is important to keep having regular blood tests in this time so that if there is any indication of the disease flaring, it can be addressed quickly with fewer complications.

Symptoms vary from patient to patient and depend upon the type of vasculitis. Common symptoms often include a combination of:

Malaise and fatigue (a feeling of being unwell and tired, often exhausted), muscle pains, joint pains, headache, fever (any raised temperature), and ‘flu like’ aches and pains. Weight loss (when not on a diet) should always be reported.
Any rashes, ulcers, spots or other changes noticed. Black areas at the edges of fingernails.
Any soreness, redness, dryness, blurred vision or loss of vision.
Nasal obstruction (blocked nose), bloody nasal discharge, unexplained sudden nose bleeds, crusting, chronic sinusitis and nasal allergies, facial soreness, difficulty with hearing, deafness or hoarseness, continuous watering of the eyes.
Any persistent cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or wheeze, coughing up blood(stained spit, clots or large amounts) or painful breathing.
Any chest pain, irregular pulse, racing/fast pulse, palpitations.
Severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea, gastrointestinal problems.
Frequent infections – The kidneys can be affected and have no outward signs of being in difficulty, so urine and blood samples are important in monitoring kidney involvement. Any blood in the urine, dark urine,any problems with passing urine.
Confusion/lack of concentration, forgetfulness/loss of memory, dizzy spells, pins and needles, loss of sensation anywhere, weakness/loss of movement in any limbs, tremor/shakes, atypical headaches.