In most cases, the cause of Vasculitis is unknown.
A combination of factors can cause the inflammatory process to be set in motion. Vasculitis is an autoimmune disease and for reasons that are not yet understood, these diseases occur when the body mistakenly thinks that some of its own cells are foreign invaders and produces antibodies as if it were fighting an infection.
How is Vasculitis Diagnosed?
Diagnosis is made by clinical and laboratory findings, such as blood tests, urinalysis, chest and sinus x-rays, angiograms and other tests. A special blood test called an ANCA test, prescribed by consultants only, is useful in diagnosing some active Vasculitis diseases. A tissue biopsy is usually the definitive test.
What is the Prognosis?
Early diagnosis and proper treatment can bring vasculitis into remission, although there is still no known cure. If you have vasculitis, the outlook depends on:
- The type of vasculitis you have
- Which organs are affected
- How quickly the condition worsens
- The severity of the condition
Many patients lead full, productive lives with management of their chronic disease.
What is the Treatment?
Treatment for vasculitis depends on the severity of symptoms and the patient’s general health. Treatment can include corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs, new biologic therapeutics and antibiotics. Other treatments might include plasmapheresis and intravenous gamma globulin.
All the information above is gathered from the Vasculitis Foundation website www.vasculitisfoundation.org, their written and DVD information, Vasculitis UK website www.vasculitis-uk.org.uk, Vasculitis Foundation Canada www.vasculitis.ca and from liaising with Vasculitis consultants.