Causes of Vasculitis

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The underlying cause of vasculitis is unknown, except in cases due to an infectious agent or medication such as those associated with hepatitis B or C viruses (HBV or HCV, respectively), cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis or cutaneous leucocytoclastic vasculitis, preceded by an infection or the use of certain medicines.

Researchers have identified a certain degree of genetic predisposition in some types of vasculitis (which does not entail transmission between generations). While in others they have observed that some hormonal (because certain types predominate in women and others in children) and environmental factors (such as prior contact with infections) contribute to the activation of the inflammatory response in blood vessel walls.

Risk factors associated with Vasculitis

No risk factors predisposing or favouring the manifestation of primary vasculitis, which is when the cause remains unknown, have been identified to date.

Although it is relatively rare, some specific infections are associated with the development of (secondary) vasculitis such as hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and HIV. On the other hand, viral or bacterial infections or the use of certain medications or toxic substances can give rise to some types of cutaneous small-vessel vasculitis. Treatment of underlying infections or avoiding any medicines associated with the development of vasculitis is crucial when it comes to resolving the actual vasculitis.

Substantiated information by:

Georgina Espigol Frigolé
José Hernández Rodríguez
Maria Cinta Cid Xutgla
Sergio Prieto González

Published: 30 November 2018
Updated: 30 November 2018

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