Vasculitis occurs when your immune system incorrectly attacks one or more blood vessels, and it causes inflammation of the blood vessels. As a result, your blood vessels can narrow, making blood flow more difficult. It can also completely close or weaken blood vessels.

When you have vasculitis, it’s vital to work with the specialist. Here at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, our highly trained team takes the utmost care in diagnosing and treating vasculitis. Board-certified rheumatologist Barbara Kage, MD, provides advanced care for rheumatic and autoimmune diseases.

What is vasculitis?

Vasculitis refers to a group of about 20 different blood vessel inflammation disorders. These conditions cause changes in your blood vessel walls, such as thickening, weakening, and narrowing. Eventually scarring can occur.

Although all forms of vasculitis involve blood vessel inflammation, the affected organs or systems can differ. The condition may come on suddenly and resolve on its own, or it may become chronic.

Pain, redness, and swelling are all symptoms of inflammation, which, if left untreated, can cause serious health problems. Vasculitis can also be associated with a number of rheumatic diseases, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome.

Vasculitis can affect all blood vessel types, including veins that transport blood from body organs to the heart and arteries that transport blood from the heart to your organs.

Why you shouldn’t ignore tingling in your fingertips

Different types of vasculitis involve blood vessels in different parts of the body. Some forms of vasculitis can affect your fingers. Buerger’s disease is a form of vasculitis characterized by inflammation of arteries and veins that supply blood to the extremities (arms, hands, and feet).

One of the first signs of Buerger’s disease is claudication, which is pain caused by insufficient blood flow during exercise. Physical activity increases the demand for blood, but when blood vessels are inflamed, narrow, and unable to meet this increased demand, your hands and feet may ache, feel numb, or tingle.

A severe lack of blood flow to the fingers can cause skin ulcers and tissue death.

Raynaud’s disease is a condition in which blood flow to the fingers is reduced. Raynaud’s can occur on its own (primary) or with other diseases (secondary). The most common diseases associated with Raynaud’s are autoimmune or connective tissue diseases such as:

  • Lupus
  • Scleroderma
  • Buerger’s disease
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

The most common type of Raynaud’s disease is the primary form, and it’s not as severe as secondary Raynaud’s. People with primary Raynaud’s syndrome are unlikely to develop a related condition.

Prompt evaluation is crucial

Have you been noticing a tingling sensation in your fingertips? It’s critical to diagnose and treat vasculitis as soon as possible because the disorder can damage your organs and quickly become life-threatening.

Assessment for vasculitis begins with a thorough medical history and physical exam to ensure an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. If Dr. Kage suspects that you have vasculitis, additional testing may be required to confirm the diagnosis.

Controlling inflammation and preventing a relapse are the goals of treatment for all types of vasculitis. Achieving remission is dependent on specific drug combinations, which vary depending on the organs involved.

If you’re diagnosed with vasculitis or have symptoms that lead you to suspect that you may have vasculitis, don’t wait to see a specialist. Our team is ready to help you get the answers, the treatment, and, most importantly, the relief you need.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Kage, call our office in Manchester, Connecticut, or book your request online.

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