The outcome of vasculitis is hard to predict. It will depend on the type of vasculitis you have, which organs are affected, and how severe the condition is.
If vasculitis is diagnosed early and responds well to treatment, it may go away or go into remission. "Remission" means the condition isn't active, but it can come back, or "flare," at any time.
Flares can be hard to predict. You may have a flare when you stop treatment or change your treatment. Some types of vasculitis seem to flare more often than others.
Also, some people have flares more often than others.
Some cases of vasculitis are chronic (ongoing) and never go into remission. Long-term treatment with medicines often can control chronic cases, but there are no cures. Rarely, vasculitis doesn't respond well to treatment. This can lead to disability or even death.
The medicines used to treat vasculitis can have side effects. For example, long-term use of corticosteroids may lead to weight gain, diabetes, weakness, a decrease in muscle size, and osteoporosis (a bone-thinning condition). Long-term use of these medicines also may increase your risk for infection.
Your doctor may adjust the type or dose of medicine you take to lessen or prevent the side effects. If your vasculitis goes into remission, your doctor may carefully withdraw your medicines. However, he or she will still need to carefully watch you for flares.
While you're being treated for vasculitis, you'll need to see your doctor regularly. Talk to your doctor about any new symptoms and other changes in your health, including side effects of your medicines.
Emotional Issues and Support
Living with a chronic condition may cause fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. It's important to talk about how you feel with your health care team. Talking to a professional counselor also can help. If you're feeling very depressed, your health care team or counselor may prescribe medicines to make you feel better.
Joining a patient support group may help you adjust to living with vasculitis. You can see how other people have coped with the condition. Talk to your doctor about local support groups or check with an area medical center.
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