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Vasculitis

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Vasculitis is a disease that causes swelling of your blood vessels, which limits blood flow to tissues and organs throughout your body. It’s thought to be an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks blood vessels by mistake.

Vasculitis can affect any of your vessels, including:

    Arteries: carry blood from your heart to your organs Veins: transport blood from your organs and limbs to your heart Capillaries: connect small arteries and veins

There are many different types of vasculitis, which affect people of all ages. Signs of the disease can come on quickly, over days or weeks, or develop gradually over a few months. Symptoms depend on the type of vasculitis, the organs affected, and the severity of the disease.

Typical general symptoms can include fever, general achiness, fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Other symptoms depend on the area of your body that’s affected, such as:

  • Brain: headaches, difficulty concentrating, changes in mental function, muscle weakness, or paralysis
  • Eyes: irritated eyes, light sensitivity, or blurred vision
  • Gastrointestinal tract: stomach pain or mouth sores
  • Joints: pain and stiffness
  • Lungs: shortness of breath or coughing up blood
  • Nerves: numbness, tingling, or weakness in different areas of your body; or shooting pain in your arms and legs
  • Sinuses: ongoing ear infections, sores in your nose, or hearing loss
  • Skin: red or purple spots, or lumps, hives, or bruises

Rheumatologists at University of Miami Health System have advanced experience diagnosing and treating scleroderma, which can often be difficult to identify when symptoms are mild or absent. We design a customized treatment to relieve your symptoms and give you comprehensive care. With locations throughout South Florida, you can get personalized treatment that’s close to home.

Why Choose UHealth?

The latest treatments for vasculitis. Our rheumatologists are also researchers, so you get care from specialists on the leading edge of autoimmune and rheumatic disease care. You get the latest approaches from an experienced team.

Comprehensive care from a team of specialists. Vasculitis can affect different areas of your body, so our rheumatologists work with doctors in a full range of medical specialties. You get comprehensive, coordinated care from dermatologists, gastroenterologists, cardiovascular specialists, pulmonologists (lung diseases), nephrologists (kidney diseases), ophthalmologists (eye diseases), neurologists, and others as needed.

Specialized care to improve your quality of life. We consider your lifestyle and changing needs to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you. You work with team that’s dedicated to minimizing your symptoms and improving your well-being.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.

Treatments

  • Medicines

    Doctors use a variety of medicines to treat vasculitis, including:

    • Corticosteroids: slow the body's immune response to relieve swelling and pain
    • Cytotoxic Medicines: destroy the cells that cause swelling
    • Disease-modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): suppress the immune system broadly to prevent swelling
    • Genetically Engineered Biologics: a newer type of DMARD that targets specific immune functions
    • Immunoglobulin or Plasma Exchange: injected medicine that contains antibodies to help minimize swelling (only used in severe cases)
    • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): reduce swelling and relieve pain, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve)
  • Surgery

    In some instances, swelling of the blood vessel wall can cause it to weaken and bulge out, called an aneurysm. Your doctor may need to repair the vessel with surgery. Whenever possible, doctors use a minimally invasive approach using a catheter (thin, flexible tube) and specialized imaging equipment to perform surgery through small incisions.


Tests

  • Biopsy

    Your doctor may take a small sample of tissue from a blood vessel or one of your organs to confirm whether you have vasculitis.

  • Blood and Urine Tests

    Blood tests detect abnormal levels of substances in your blood that can help your doctor diagnose vasculitis and determine if it’s affected your organs. Tests can look for swelling (erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein tests) or antibodies that appear in certain types of vasculitis (antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies or ANCA). Your doctor may also analyze your urine (urinalysis) to evaluate your kidneys.

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)

    An EKG is a noninvasive test that measures the electrical activity of your heart and your heartbeat. Your doctor may use this test to determine whether vasculitis is affecting your heart. During the test, a technologist attaches several adhesive electrodes to your body. The electrodes are connected to a machine that records your heartbeat.

  • Imaging Exams

    Your doctor may use imaging tests to examine blood vessels and different organs in your body, such as ultrasound (sound waves), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and X-ray exams. You may also undergo an angiogram, a type of X-ray that uses an injected dye during the exam to show blood flow through your vessels and locate abnormalities.

  • Lung Function Tests

    These tests evaluate your breathing and airflow, check for swelling in your lungs, and find any abnormalities in airflow in or out of your lungs.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • CompCare (Comprehensive Behavioral Care)
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • DIKLA
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • EHN PPO
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • FCCI WC
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Global Health Claims Services
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana HUMx
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care