The symptoms of vasculitis are different depending on the type of vasculitis you have, the blood vessels and organs involved, and whether your condition is serious. Some people may have few symptoms. Other people may become very sick.
Sometimes, the symptoms develop slowly over months. The symptoms may also develop very quickly over days or weeks. Not everyone will experience the common symptoms below. Some people will experience some, but not all of them. General symptoms of vasculitis include:
- General aches and pains
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Others may experience common, more specific problems that are caused by vasculitis.
What problems can vasculitis cause?
- Ear and nose problems, including sinus infections, inner ear infections, open sores in the nose, a runny nose, dizziness, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and deafness, may occur.
- Eye problems, including redness, itching, burning, and changes in vision, may also occur. Blindness in one eye may be the first sign of giant cell arteritis. The risk of blindness with giant cell arteritis is higher for people who have had a stroke or have peripheral artery disease.
- problems, such as open sores in the mouth or stomach area, diarrhea, vomiting blood, and pain in the stomach area, are also sometimes caused by vasculitis.
- Genital ulcers, which are open sores in the genital area, may also occur.
- Headache, scalp tenderness, and pain may develop after chewing.
- Heart palpitations, or the feeling that your heart is racing, can occur with vasculitis.
- Joint pain is another common condition caused by vasculitis.
- Lung problems, including shortness of breath, bleeding within the lung, and coughing up blood, may also occur when you have vasculitis.
- Nerve problems, including numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in various parts of body, can occur. Loss of strength in the hands and feet and shooting pains in the arms and legs can also occur with vasculitis.
- Skin rashes, purple or red spots or bumps, clusters of small dots, splotches, bruises, hives, and itching also sometimes develop.
- Problems with the hands and feet, including swelling or hardening of the palms and soles, or pain, ulcers, and gangrene, can show up in some people.
- Swollen, dry lips or tongue, or swelling in the mouth and throat may occur.
- Problems during pregnancy can develop if a person has vasculitis.
Blood vessels damaged by vasculitis can narrow and block normal blood flow, which may cause problems in other parts of the body. Some problems can be life-threatening. They include:
- Aneurysm or a tear inside the aorta called an aortic
- Coronary heart disease
- Deep vein thrombosis, a type of venous thromboembolism
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Low blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation
- Stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA, also known as a mini-stroke, occurs if blood flow to a part of the brain is blocked only for a short time. A TIA may happen and may develop into a stroke later.