Autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis causes inflammation of blood vessels and could even be fatal for some of those who suffer from the condition. Vasculitis, in general, refers to a condition where blood vessels are destroyed by inflammation. It can occur in the arteries (arteritis) or veins (phlebitis). It might affect blood vessels of any size and organs throughout the body. Vasculitis can also be just one side effect of other serious diseases and problems, such as cancer, infections (i.e., hepatitis), exposure to drugs and chemicals, and rheumatic diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis.1 Symptoms experienced by different patients are prone to variation, depending on which blood vessels are affected. The skin may, at some point, develop purpura (red spots), nodules (lumps), or ulcers (sores). The hands or feet could have weakness or numbness. Coughing and shortness of breath are other possible symptoms. Certain affected parts of the body may show no signs of the autoimmune condition at all.2 Vasculitis can have one or repeated episodes, most cases are rare, but some lead to death, such as in the case of actor Harold Ramis. Ramis passed away from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, which is an extremely rare disease. In this disorder, the immune system attacks the blood vessels, which weakens and narrows the blood vessel walls. The blockages that result can affect organs and tissues to the point where they die from lack of blood supply. Over time, more symptoms accumulate and other organs and tissues get affected and begin to lose the ability to function. Some cases of this disease can become rapidly serious, while other patients might be able to live with autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis for years.3 Further symptoms can include fever, fatigue, hives, bruises, weight loss, aches and pains, and arthritis in the joints. For some, ruptured intestines, ear infections, burning eyes, headaches, stroke-like symptoms, nerve problems, and pneumonia symptoms can result.4 The arteries may not only be blocked, but they could also leak or even break. In Ramis’ situation, he developed an infection, and the resulting complications led to him having to relearn how to walk. He passed away “four years after contracting the condition”.5
Treatment Options for Autoimmune Inflammatory Vasculitis
The typical treatments for inflammatory vasculitis are aimed at reducing inflammation and suppression of the immune system. Prednisone and other corticosteroids are prescribed, as well as immune suppression drugs (i.e., cyclophosphamide). Cephalexin or other antimicrobial agents could be used if there is an infection.6 For less severe cases, patients may be prescribed Azathioprine or Methotrexate, which are also used for other rheumatic diseases. Newer medications for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as rituximab, may also be effective. Severe cases of vasculitis may need plasmapheresis (plasma exchange) or IVIg (intravenous immunoglobulin). Medications carry side effects and suppression of the immune system leaves patients open to infections, but it is sometimes the only option that patients who deal with the autoimmune condition have for treatment.7 Other treatments include the cancer medication Cytoxin and anti-B-cell therapy. Some cases of the disease resolve on their own.8 Prognosis depends on the form of the vasculitis, the affected organs, and how quickly treatment begins. It can go into remission or it can be chronic. If an aneurysm occurs, surgery may be required. Surgery also has its own risks and side effects, and it should generally not be a chosen option unless the patient has no other choice, such as in the severe case of an aneurysm.9
Natural Treatment Options
There are some natural treatment options that might help the patient treat their own inflamed blood vessels, with the approval of their primary care physician of course. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is one such possible treatment option. The majority of the immune system is in gut-associated lymphoid tissue, which is why a healthy diet plays such a major role in controlling inflammation and keeping the body moving with the dietary fuel it needs. It is recommended that patients who are following an anti-inflammatory diet eliminate foods that are hard to digest or contribute to problems in the gut. These include foods that contain gluten, excess sugar, and many dairy products. Processed and undercooked meats, raw seafood, caffeine, sweetened beverages, alcohol, and foods that are high in sodium should be avoided. Potassium and magnesium intake should be increased through the consumption of leafy green vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, bananas, and more healthy and delicious foods. Tracking which symptoms are relieved when food is eliminated could help the patient get a better idea of what their body can handle.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Vasculitis
Calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, and apple cider vinegar for Vasculitis are all supplements that could help reduce the side effects of medications. While gentle exercises, like walking or swimming, are encouraged, patients should also remember to get proper and adequate rest so as not to overwork their body. Those with autoimmune health problems and fatigue usually need eight or more hours of sleep every night. Of course, mental health should be considered, especially during the stressful time of a health condition. Friends and family, and even professionals, are often available for an open environment to talk and release some social stress.10