Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessel system which includes the veins, arteries and capillaries. Vasculitis can occur as an allergic reaction or as an expression of autoimmune phenomena. Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body’s immune system, which is meant to defend the body against bacteria, viruses, and any other foreign product, malfunctions and produces antibodies against healthy tissue, cells and organs.
Some forms of vasculitis may be caused by allergy or hypersensitivity to medications and toxins, even to inhaled environmental irritants. Other forms may be due to infection with bacteria, parasites, or viruses. These causes should be ruled out before considering an autoimmune cause.
Vasculitis is a part of the picture in many of autoimmune diseases. Chronic inflammation of vessel walls causes an obstruction of the flow of blood to the tissue (ischemia). Ischemia may cause damage to tissues, formation of blood clots and a weakening or ballooning which can cause rupture of the vessel wall.
The list of symptoms of vasculitis are similar to the lists of a variety of autoimmune diseases and include: aching joints, fever over 100 F (38 C), prolonged or extreme fatigue, swollen joints, skin rashes, anemia, kidney failure, stabbing pain in chest on deep breathing (pluerisy), butterfly rash across cheeks and nose, sun or light sensitivity, hair loss, fingers turn white or blue in cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon), seizures, ulcers in the mouth or nose, raised bruises which do not blanch with pressure, rupture of aneurysm.
Arteries and veins of all sizes and in all parts of the body may be affected. Vasculitis may be localized or systemic. If systemic, it may affect different parts of the body including the lungs, kidneys, heart and brain. It may occur as an autoimmune disease itself or as a complication of other autoimmune diseases.
Conventional treatment involves the use of Prednisone and other corticosteroids. Often patients are unable to tolerate the toxic side effects of these drugs.
The alternative, nutritional medicine approach is to identify hidden allergies by blood test and avoid those allergens (primarily foods). Also enzyme potentiated desensitization holds hope for putting the disease in long term remission.