What is Vasculitis?
The term vasculitis, also known as arteritis or angiitis, refers to a group of about two dozen rare diseases that share one common characteristic- inflammation of blood vessels. When blood vessel walls become inflamed, they can become thickened or weakened and compromise blood flow and oxygen to tissues and organs, causing damage.
Any size blood vessel can become inflamed, from the largest artery in the body, the aorta, to the tiny arteries or veins in the skin or kidneys. As such, different types of vasculitis impact virtually every part of the body; some result in relatively mild symptoms, while others are severe and even life threatening.
Vasculitis can affect both men and women of all ages. Some forms are seen only in children, while others effect predominantly older adults.
Why Choose Michigan Medicine Vasculitis Program
When it comes to rare diseases like vasculitis, where you seek care makes a difference. As a high volume center for the treatment of all types of rheumatologic conditions, Michigan Medicine’s multidisciplinary team of experts is experienced in diagnosing and treating even the most uncommon forms of vasculitis. Using the latest diagnostic and treatment tools, Michigan Medicine’s vasculitis team is committed to providing personalized care to address your particular needs.
Multidisciplinary care is coordinated by a rheumatologist (a joint and autoimmune diseases physician) specializing in vasculitis. Depending on the area of the body most impacted by the disease, the rheumatologist will collaborate with other specialists to arrive at a diagnosis and treatment plan, including:
- Neurologists: Brain and nervous system physicians
- Ophthalmologists: Eye physicians
- Otolaryngologists: Ear, nose and throat physicians
- Cardiologists: Heart physicians
- Nephrologists: Kidney physicians
- Pulmonologists: Lung physicians
- Dermatologists: Skin physicians
- Vascular surgeons: Physicians who do surgery on blood vessels
Our clinician scientists and investigators are also actively involved in research to better understand what causes vasculitis, and to develop treatments to better manage their symptoms and complications.
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Online resources from the following organizations were cited for information on vasculitis types, symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment:
- The American College of Rheumatology
- The Arthritis Foundation
- The Vasculitis Foundation
- NIH Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center
- Archives of Neurology (PubMed)