Alternative Names: Polyarteritis nodosa
A serious blood vessel disease in which small- and medium-sized arteries become swollen and damaged.
Polyarteritis nodosa is a vascular disease of unknown cause which typically strikes adults.
Generalized symptoms include fever, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss. Muscle aches (myalgia) and joint aches (arthralgia) are common. The skin may show rashes, swelling, ulcers, and lumps (nodular lesions). Nerve involvement may cause sensory changes with numbness, pain, burning and weakness. Central nervous system involvement may cause strokes or seizures. Kidney involvement can produce varying degrees of renal failure. Involvement of the arteries of the heart may cause a heart attack (acute myocardial infarction), heart failure and inflammation of the sack around the heart (pericarditis).
Treatment is mandatory for long-term survival. The five-year survival rate in treated patients may approach 50%.
The end result of arterial damage is subsequent damage to the tissue that the arteries supply. In this disease, secondary symptoms are a result of damage to the organs being affected – often the skin, heart, kidneys and nervous system.
Commonly recommended drugs include prednisone and cyclophosphamide.
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