Pathophysiology: Vasculitis is an autoimmune connective tissue disease that targets blood vessels in the body, leading to inflammation and potential damage to vital organs. Living with vasculitis can be challenging for patients as there are periods when the disease is more active and often unpredictable in nature. Although there is no cure for vasculitis, improved understanding of the disease process and new treatments can improve quality of life for patients.
Disease Treatment: Common prescription medicines used to treat vasculitis include corticosteroids and cytotoxic medicines. Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation in your blood vessels. Examples of corticosteroids are prednisone, prednisolone, and methylprednisolone
Disease Statistics: Henoch-Schönlein purpura is the most common vasculitis in childhood with an incidence of approximately 1 in 5000 children annually. In North America, Kawasaki disease occurs in about approximately 20 per 100,000 children younger than 5 years. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Wegener granulomatosis) is reported to occur in 0.03-3.2 per 100,000 children per year.
Major Research: The Boston University Vasculitis Center has an international reputation for the care of patients with vasculitis and research into these diseases. The Boston University Vasculitis Center has led or participated in all of the major U.S. based multi centered clinical trials in vasculitis in the past ten years. Dr. Paul Monach is the Director of the Boston University Vasculitis Center. BU Medical has an excellent new website with information for patients and doctors alike.