Vasculitis means inflammation of the blood vessels, arteries, veins or capillaries. When such inflammation occurs, it causes changes in the walls of blood vessels, such as weakening and narrowing that can progress to the point of blood vessel blockage.
A result of vasculitis is that the tissues and organs supplied by affected blood vessels do not get enough blood. This can cause organ and tissue damage that can even lead to death.
Vasculitis is a family of rare diseases that can affect people of all ages. Though some forms of vasculitis improve on their own, most require treatment. The length of treatment varies, with some people using medications for extended periods of time.
The different types of vasculitis are classified according to the size and location of the blood vessels that are affected.