Make an appointment with your primary care doctor if you have signs or symptoms that worry you. If your doctor suspects that you have vasculitis, he or she may refer you to a joint and muscle specialist (rheumatologist) with experience in helping people with this condition. You may also benefit from a multidisciplinary approach. What specialists you see depends on the type and severity of your condition.
Specialists who treat vasculitis include:
- Joint and connective tissue doctors (rheumatologists)
- Brain and nervous system doctors (neurologists)
- Eye doctors (ophthalmologists)
- Heart doctors (cardiologists)
- Infectious diseases doctors
- Kidney doctors (nephrologists)
- Lung doctors (pulmonologists)
- Skin doctors (dermatologists)
- Urinary and urogenital system doctors (urologists)
What you can do
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well-prepared. Try to:
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if you need to do anything in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- List any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- List key personal medical information, including other recent health problems or major stresses you've had and any medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend with you to the appointment. Someone who accompanies you can help remember what the doctor says.
- List questions you want to ask your doctor.
For vasculitis, some basic questions to ask include:
- What type of vasculitis do I have?
- What's causing my vasculitis?
- Will I need more tests?
- Is my vasculitis acute or chronic?
- Will my vasculitis go away on its own?
- Is my vasculitis serious?
- Has any part of my body been seriously damaged by vasculitis?
- Can my vasculitis be cured?
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the benefits and risks of each treatment?
- Is there one treatment you feel is best for me?
- How long will treatment last?
- I have another medical condition. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor may ask:
Oct. 08, 2014
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- What is vasculitis? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vas/. Accessed July 16, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed July 16, 2014.
- Gwathmey KG, et al. Vasculitic neuropathies. Lancet Neurology. 2014;13:67.
- Guillevin L. Infections in vasculitis. Best Practice & Research in Clinical Rheumatology. 2013;27:19.
- Merkel PA. Overview of the management of vasculitis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 17, 2014.
- Tarzi R, et al. Small vessel vasculitides. Medicine. 2014;42:138.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 17, 2014.
- Zand L, et al. Treatment of ANCA-associated vasculitis: New therapies and a look at old entities. Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease. 2014;21:182.
- Murphy JG, et al., eds. Mayo Clinic Cardiology: Concise Textbook. 4th ed. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press; 2013.
- Pipitone N, et al. Role of imaging in the diagnosis of large and medium‐sized vessel vasculitis. Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America. 2013;39:593.
- Warrington KJ, et al. A primer on vasculitis. Minnesota Medicine. 2013;96:36.
- Weyand CM, et al. Giant-cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica. New England Journal of Medicine. 2014;371:50.
- Dammacco F, et al. Therapy for hepatitis C virus-related cryoglobulinemic vasculitis. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;369:1035.
- Grayson PC, et al. New features of disease after diagnosis in 6 forms of systemic vasculitis. Journal of Rheumatology. 2013;40:1905.
- Specks U, et al. Efficacy of remission-induction regimens for ANCA-associated vasculitis. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;369:417.