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: