Vasculitis is a general term for a group of diseases involving the inflammation of blood vessels. As blood vessels are in all parts of the body, many different systems can be involved and patients can have very different and multiple manifestations of vasculitis. Inflammation may involve pain, redness, warmth, swelling or loss of function in the affected tissue.

Most types of vasculitis are rare and the causes are generally unknown. What is known, however, is the immune system plays a major part in the tissue damage caused by the disease. In vasculitis, the immune system, which normally protects the body, attacks the blood vessels causing inflammation within the body’s tissues. The disruption in blood flow caused by inflammation can damage the body's organs. Signs and symptoms depend on which organs have been damaged and the extent of the damage.

Vasculitis can affect people of all ages and races and both sexes. Vasculitic diseases can be mild or life‐threatening, and either limited to a single occurrence or multiple episodes. Although the causes of most types of vasculitis are unknown, some cases are liked to chronic infections, particularly with hepatitis C virus of hepatitis B virus. Vasculitis can also be part of several rheumatic diseases, especially lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjögren's syndrome. Vasculitis is not hereditary.

Symptoms of Vasculitis

The signs and symptoms of vasculitis vary depending on which blood vessels and, as a result, which organ systems are affected. However, general signs and symptoms that most people with vasculitis experience include:
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nerve problems, such as numbness or weakness
Vasculitis can be a temporary or life‐long problem. Rheumatologists are the specialists with the most overall knowledge of vasculitis and are best equipped to direct the care of patients. Physicians at New York Presbyterian’s Dedicated Inflammatory Arthritis Center are committed to integrated care so patients benefit from seeing multiple specialists with expertise in organ systems that are or may become affected.


For general information or to schedule an appointment, call 212.305.4308. You may need a doctor's referral; please consult with your insurance provider prior to your appointment to ensure your visit will be covered under your policy.

Your appointment

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