Behcets Disease

(Adamantiales-Behcets Syndrome)

Definition

Behcets disease is a rare, chronic disorder involving inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body. It is marked by recurrent oral and genital ulcers and eye inflammation.

Causes

The cause of Behcets disease is unknown. It is believed to be caused by an autoimmune reaction. This occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue by mistake. This autoimmune abnormality may be inherited. An environmental trigger, such as a specific virus or bacterium, may activate the disease in people susceptible to it.

Risk Factors

Although the exact cause of Behcets disease is unknown, some groups of people are more likely to develop the condition than others. Factors that may increase your risk of Behcets include:
  • Location: the Middle East, Asia, and Japan
  • Family history of Behcets disease
  • A gene marker called the HLA-B51/B5 allele
  • Sex:
    • In the United States, men are more likely than women to develop this condition.
    • In the Middle East, Asia, and Japan, women are more likely than men to develop Behcets.
  • Age: 20's and 30's

Symptoms

Symptoms of Behcets disease can vary from mild to very severe. Symptoms tend to appear, heal, and then recur (referred to as a flare) frequently over months or years. The most common symptoms of the disease are:
  • Oral sores
    • Affect almost all people with the disease
    • Usually are the first to appear
    • Usually last for 10-14 days
    • Can be painful
    • Can cause scarring
  • Ulcerated Gums
    Periodontal Disease
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
  • Genital sores
    • In men: appear on the penis and/or scrotum
    • In women: appear on the vulva or within the vagina
    • Can be painful
    • Can cause scarring
  • Uveitis—inflammation of the middle part of the eye, including the iris
    • Tends to cause eye redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and watering eyes
    • If not treated, can cause partial vision loss or blindness
  • Arthritis —inflammation of joints
    • Tends to be painful
    • Usually does not cause permanent joint damage
  • Skin problems, such as sores
    • May appear as red, raised sores or bumps, or may be flat (flush with the skin)
    • Usually appear on the legs and upper torso
Other symptoms of the disease may include:
  • Severe fatigue during a flare
  • Blood clots
    • Caused by thrombophlebitis (inflammation of veins), usually in the legs
    • Can cause severe complications if not treated quickly
  • Aneurysms , or severely dilated blood vessels
    • May rupture and cause severe consequences
  • Heart problems, such as:
    • Abnormal heart rhythms
    • Missed heartbeats
    • Early heartbeats
    • Inflammation of the heart muscle ( myocarditis )
  • Central nervous system problems
    • For example, meningoencephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain and membrane that lines the brain
    • May result in seizures , confusion, strokes , memory problems, headaches
  • Stroke from a Cerebral Aneurysm
    Cerebral Aneurysm
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
  • Digestive problems
    • Causes ulcers and inflammation of the digestive tract (rarely)

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