We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Rheumatoid Vasculitis?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Rheumatoid vasculitis is a rare complication of arthritis that causes inflammation and constriction of blood vessels. The condition tends to affect veins and arteries near the skin, though vessels in the eyes, gastrointestinal tract, and near internal organs may also be involved. Most cases of rheumatoid vasculitis and underlying joint arthritis can be treated with prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. Surgery may be necessary if serious nerve, organ, or bone complications occur.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly inhibits healthy joint tissue, causing inflammation, pain, and swelling. A very small percentage of rheumatoid arthritis patients develop signs of vasculitis, usually at least ten years after the onset of joint problems. The condition is most likely to cause problems in arteries and veins near the joints that are troubled by arthritis, but it can potentially become widespread. Inflamed blood vessels swell, thicken, and narrow, leading to a number of obvious and often painful physical symptoms.

A person who has rheumatoid vasculitis may notice tender, darkened areas of skin around the nail beds of the fingers or toes. Open lesions called cutaneous ulcers can appear on the skin over time as localized inflammation worsens. Blood vessels in one or both eyes can also be affected, leading to reddening and vision changes. A person can experience numbness or tingling sensations in an extremity if the blood supply to major nerves is impeded. Less commonly, major arteries in the chest, abdomen and legs can become constricted and cause potentially life-threatening blood pressure and circulation issues.

Almost all people who experience rheumatoid vasculitis are already aware that they have arthritis. Doctors can usually diagnose vasculitis by carefully examining the eyes and skin. Blood tests can help specialists rule out other conditions, such as infections, that might be causing symptoms. A tissue biopsy from an affected blood vessel is performed to confirm the nature and severity of inflammation.

After making a diagnosis, a doctor can determine the best treatment option. In addition to taking medications to control joint inflammation, a patient may need to take specialized drugs designed to keep blood vessels dilated and promote healthy blood pressure levels. Rheumatoid vasculitis of the eyes often requires surgery to prevent permanent vision loss. A patient may also need to use topical or oral antibiotics if he or she has open lesions to lessen the chances of infection. Rheumatoid arthritis is usually a lifelong condition, but symptoms of vasculitis do not always persist over the course of a lifetime.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.