Vasculitis means "inflammation of the blood vessels".

Inflammation isyour immune system's natural response to injury or infection. It causes swelling, and can help the body deal with invading germs.

But in vasculitis, for some reason theimmune system attacks healthy blood vessels, causing them to becomeswollen and narrow. This may be triggeredby an infection or medication,although often the cause is unknown.

Vasculitis can range from a minor problem that just affects the skin, to a more serious illness that causes problems with organs such as the heart or kidneys.

There are many types of vasculitis. This page covers:

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Oct 2016