Skip to content

Pain Management Health Center

Vasculitis Pain Management

Font Size
A
A
A

Vasculitis Diagnosis

The diagnosis of vasculitis is based on a person's medical history, current symptoms, complete physical exam, and the results of specialized lab tests. A doctor can test for blood abnormalities, which can occur when vasculitis is present. These abnormalities include:

  • Anemia
  • A high white blood cell count
  • A high platelet count
  • Signs of kidney or liver problems
  • Signs of an allergic reaction

Blood tests also can identify immune complexes or antibodies (ways the body fights off what it thinks is a threat) that cause vasculitis. Additional tests may include X-rays, tissue biopsies, blood vessel, and heart scans.

Vasculitis Treatment

Treatment for vasculitis depends entirely upon diagnosis and the affected organs. When vasculitis is the result of an allergic reaction, it may go away on its own and not require treatment. In other instances, when critical organs such as the lungs, brain, or kidneys are involved, aggressive and timely treatment is necessary.

Treatment generally consists of corticosteroid medications (steroids). Chemotherapeutic drugs (such as those used to treat cancer) are also used, but in doses considerably lower than people with cancer may receive. The goal of this type of chemotherapy is to suppress the abnormal immune response that has led to blood vessel damage.

Vasculitis Outlook

The outlook for someone with vasculitis varies, depending on the type of vasculitis the person has. In the past, people with severe vasculitis may have expected to survive only weeks or months. Today, however, normal life spans are possible with proper treatment. The success of treatment is related to prompt diagnosis, aggressive treatment and careful follow-up.

Once vasculitis is under control, medications may be cautiously withdrawn, with the hope that the patient will sustain a long remission or cure, without the need for further treatment. Because doctors cannot predict how long a person may remain in remission, it is very important for people with more severe forms of vasculitis to continue under the care of a knowledgeable doctor for the rest of their lives.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on August 01, 2013
1 | 2

Today on WebMD

pain in brain and nerves
Top causes and how to find relief.
knee exercise
8 exercises for less knee pain.
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
chronic pain
Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
 
illustration of nerves in hand
Slideshow
lumbar spine
Slideshow
 
Woman opening window
Slideshow
Man holding handful of pills
Video
 
Woman shopping for vegetables
Slideshow
Sore feet with high heel shoes
Slideshow
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
man with a migraine
Slideshow