The signs and symptoms of vasculitis can be very vague, generalized, and non-specific. This is because of the complexity and variability of the different types of vasculitic diseases. It is also important to realize that vasculitis, as a whole, is a rare condition compared to other common conditions that may also cause similar signs and symptoms.
It may be safe to say that most of the signs and symptoms related to vasculitis are caused because the inflammation of the blood vessels results in impaired or complete lack of blood flow to the specific organ(s) supplied by the affected blood vessels. For example:
- CNS vasculitis may cause headaches, confusion, or focal neurologic problems.
- Churg-Strauss vasculitis can have symptoms similar to asthma because of its involvement of the lungs.
- Henoch-Schonlein purpura can present as purpura (small raised purple areas under the skin due to hemorrhage), abdominal pain or nausea and vomiting, joint pain, or blood in the urine (hematuria) because of its systemic involvement.
- Temporal arteritis may present as a headache and tender, thick blood vessels on the side of the forehead.
- Cutaneous vasculitis may cause purpura, urticaria (hives), or ulcers of the skin.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/29/2014
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