The body is very complicated, with hundreds of systems working together. The immune system is particularly important and acts as the body’s defense mechanism that helps to fight against infection, disease and other conditions that may cause harm to the host’s wellbeing. When the immune system detects viruses, bacteria or any other substances that are foreign and potentially harmful, an inflammatory response is triggered in the particular area that is affected by foreign substances. Inflammation is the body’s natural defense trigger that causes white blood cells, as well as the numerous substances that are produced by this particular type of blood cell. This then defends the body against potentially harmful effects that the foreign bacteria or viruses may lead to.
What Is Vasculitis?
Similar to many other types of autoimmune disorders, it is a term that is used to describe numerous diseases that fall within the same category. This particular group of diseases all affects the blood circulatory system. Vasculitis diseases cause the immune system to attack blood vessels that are healthy – when the immune system attacks these blood vessels, they become narrower and inflammation also occurs within the affected blood vessels. In some cases, vasculitis leads to minor symptoms that often tends to affect the skin, but there are cases where it causes problems with the kidneys, heart and other organs, which may lead to more severe symptoms.
Types of Vasculitis
To understand how vasculitis causes joint pain, it is essential that we consider the different types of vasculitis that have been identified by medical experts. Some of these diseases do lead to joint pain, but there are also some of these diseases that do not cause joint pain as a symptom. Let’s consider the different types of vasculitis that have been identified, as reported by NHS Choices.
Giant Cell Arteritis
Giant Cell Arteritis, often referred to as GCA, is the most common types of vasculitis in the United Kingdom. According to the reports this condition is one of the commonest forms of vasculitis and are diagnosed in the country every year, affecting one or two persons per 10,000 people in the UK– and it is also more prevalent amongst individuals that are over the age of 50 years. This particular type of vasculitis affects blood vessels that are located in the neck and the head. In many cases, a doctor may also refer to giant cell arteritis as temporal arteritis because it can also affect blood vessels located in the temple areas. Common symptoms include pain in the temple region, as well as headaches and vision changes, which may include vision loss or, in some cases, double vision. Many people with giant cell arteritis also find that it can be somewhat painful in their jaw region while they eat. Note that this particular type of vasculitis does not cause joint pain as a symptom, but it is important to mention giant cell arteritis since it seems to be the most common type of this disease.
Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis
This particular type of vasculitis can cause joints to become painful. It is also known as Churg-Strauss syndrome and often affects the nerves, as well as blood vessels. When nerves are affected by this particular type of vasculitis, a patient may find that they experience numbness and weakness in the affected regions of their bodies. In some cases, eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis, or Churg-Strauss syndrome, may also affect and cause damage to the heart’s muscle, as well as the kidneys. Apart from joint pain, this particular vasculitis disease may also cause symptoms related to asthma and allergic rhinitis. A constant feeling of tiredness and weight loss is another common symptom.
Henoch-Schönlein purpura is another type of vasculitis that can cause joint pain as one of its many common symptoms. This is one of the rarer vasculitis diseases and it most often affects children. This particular type of vasculitis tends to affect the skin mostly, but it can also affect the bowel and the kidneys. While the specific cause of Henoch-Schönlein purpura is not definitely known, but medical experts have discovered that infection is often a particular problem that causes this disease to develop. In most cases, this disease is not life-threatening and treatment is usually very successful. Joint pain is not the only symptom that may occur when a patient develops this disease. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and a rash may also develop. Some patients also experience blood in their feces and urine.
It is classified as very rare and is mostly diagnosed amongst younger women. Takayasu arteritis causes inflammation and other symptoms in the primary blood vessel of the heart. In addition to this blood vessel, it also affects the vital blood vessels that branches of the main heart artery. When appropriate treatment is administered to a patient with this particular type of vasculitis, the condition can be managed effectively. A common symptom of Takayasu arteritis is joint pain, but muscles can also be affected and become painful. Extreme exhaustion and a fever are also common in patients with this vasculitis disease. In addition to these symptoms, patients may also experience weight loss and dizziness, accompanied by shortness of breath. Many patients with Takayasu arteritis also experience numbness and pain in their limbs.
Other Types of Vasculitis
These are not the only forms of vasculitis that can develop in the human body. Other common forms of these diseases include Bachet’s disease, Cogan’s syndrome, hypersensitivity vasculitis, rheumatoid vasculitis, Beurger’s disease and many more. While not all of them will affect the joints, a large number can cause the joints to become painful.
Joint pain can affect any person and can be caused by numerous factors, such as arthritis, of course. Vasculitis is a particular condition that affects the body’s inflammatory response and causes inflammation in the blood vessels. The condition is classified as an autoimmune disorder. In many cases, vasculitis may also lead to symptoms such as joint pain, which can be painful and uncomfortable. Seeking professional treatment can prove effective in reducing the symptoms, including the joint pain caused by this particular condition.
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