- Vasculitis is simply an inflammation of blood vessels. Inflammation is the natural response of the body’s immune system to any injury or infection, which in normal course can help the body fight invading germs.
- However, in vasculitis, the body’s immune system turns on healthy blood vessels, causing them to swell up and narrow down.
- The trigger for vasculitis may be an infection or a drug, although the precise reason is often uncertain or unknown.
- Vasculitis can be only a minor problem affecting the skin, or it can, like in the case of Kutcher, be a serious condition that impacts the heart, kidneys or other vital organs.
- There are around 20 different disorders that are classified as vasculitis.
- Angiitis and Arteritis are used as synonyms for vasculitis, literally meaning “inflammation within blood vessels” or “inflammation in arteries.”
- There are many different types of diseases that belong to this category.
- Some of the diseases associated with vasculitis are Behcet’s Disease, which is characterised by oral and genital ulcers and eye inflammation; Buerger’s Disease, which mainly affects smokers and leads to decreased flow of blood to the hands and feet; and Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA), which is associated with asthma, sinusitis, and tends to involve the lungs, kidneys, and heart as well.
- Steroids are frequently prescribed, as are some other medicines that reduce the activity of the immune system.