Vasculitis refers to a group of diseases that all cause inflammation of blood vessels. There are different types of vasculitis, and they all have different symptoms and duration. These diseases are rare, and the causes are unknown. However, several forms of vasculitis affect certain people. For example, Kawasaki disease only affects children while giant cell arteritis occurs in people older than 50.
Patients with vasculitis have poor blood flow throughout the body such as nerves and skin. Therefore, the main symptoms are a weakness in the feet or hands, shortness of breath, and red spots. However, some vasculitis types don't have any symptoms at all but still can be disabling or even lead to death. Patients can have vasculitis once or suffer several episodes over many years.
Vasculitis is thought to be an autoimmune disease and some chronic infections, such as the hepatitis B virus, can cause it. The main treatment is immune-suppressing drugs.