Symptoms of Vasculitis

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All forms of systemic vasculitis share the following characteristics:

Thermometer with a danger signal indicating fever

Low-grade fever or fever.

Tired woman, sweating

Tiredness or asthenia (weakness).

Scale with a down arrow indicating a weight loss

Loss of appetite or weight loss.

Person with loss of sensation in half of the body

Muscle pain and decreased limb sensitivity and strength. Nerve compromise leading to muscle pain and decreased limb sensitivity and strength in cases of small- and medium-vessel vasculitis.


Woman over 50 with a headache

Giant cell arteritis (GCA) affects people over the age of 50, above all women, and manifests with headache, masticatory fatigue (jaw claudication) and other craniofacial problems. The most feared, but less frequent, complications are visual disorders (e.g., blindness) and stroke.

Woman with abdominal pain

Takayasu’s arteritis (TKA) usually appears in young women in the form of limb tiredness upon exertion (claudication), high blood pressure, difficulty breathing or other chest or abdominal complaints.

Weakness or loss of sensation in arm and leg

Polyarteritis nodosa (PAN) affects both sexes and people of all ages indiscriminately. It is characterised by muscle pain and problems with sensitivity or weakness in the limbs (these are less frequent), as well as abdominal pain, intestinal bleeding and cutaneous lesions in the form of nodules and ulcers.

Girl with skin blemishes

Kawasaki’s disease (KD) affects young children and manifests as high fever, conjunctivitis, generalised skin rash with swollen hands and feet, irritation of the lips and pharynx, and swelling of the tongue and lymph nodes in the neck. It can also affect the arteries in the heart (coronary arteries).

Respiratory system

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) generally appears in adults. In most cases it affects the regions encompassing the ears, nose and throat, including scabs on the nose (with blood and mucous), sinusitis, otitis, inflammation of the larynx with difficulty breathing, and inflammation of the tear glands and eyes. It may also be accompanied by lesions on the lungs in the form of nodules or inflammation affecting the entire lung, with the risk of respiratory failure and pulmonary haemorrhage, as well as potentially serious swelling of the kidneys.

Lungs and kidneys

As with GPA, microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) produces lung and kidney inflammation, which can be serious. However, it does not affect the ears, nose or throat.

Person with inhaler

Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) is characterised by asthma, nasal polyps with nasal blockage and sinusitis. This type of vasculitis can also cause lung and kidney inflammation, but to a lesser extent than in the cases of GPA and MPA.

Leg injuries

IgA-associated vasculitis (IgAV) is most commonly encountered in children, although it can also affect adults. The main symptoms are small, red skin lesions (also known as purpura), above all on the legs, followed by pain and swelling of the joints, abdominal pain and inflammation of the kidneys.

Man with skin blemishes

Cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis usually manifests in adults as purpuric skin lesions and ulcers, joint and muscle pain, reduced limb sensitivity and strength, abdominal pain or intestinal bleeding, and inflammation of the kidneys.

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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