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Symptoms of Behcet's Disease

Symptoms of Behcet's Disease: Introduction

The types and severity of symptoms of Behcet's disease vary depending on the blood vessels affected. Almost any blood vessel in the body, including small to large arteries and veins, can become inflamed and cause symptoms. Manifestations can appear in many areas of the body and run the gamut from mild to severe, and some complications can be serious, even life-threatening.

The most common sites of symptoms and complication include the eye, mouth, brain, skin, lungs, joints, genitals, and gastrointestinal tract.

Symptoms of Behcet's disease include painful sores that can develop and recur in the mouth, on the skin, in the gastrointestinal tract, and on both the male and female genitals. Joint pain and arthritis can occur as well.

Symptoms in the eye can include anterior uveitis, which results in blurred vision, redness of the eye, sensitivity to light, and tearing. Posterior uveitis can also occur and may result in permanent damage to the retina and blindness.

Other serious complications include the development of aneurysms in the lung, which can rupture and lead to uncontrolled bleeding or hemorrhage, shock, and death. Behcet's disease can also affect the brain resulting in headache, confusion, personality changes, and stroke. It can also lead to an inflammation of the protective layer that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. This is called meningitis....more about Behcet's Disease »

Symptoms of Behcet's Disease

The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources for Behcet's Disease includes the 59 symptoms listed below:

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Behcet's Disease: Symptom Checkers

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Behcet's Disease: Symptom Assessment Questionnaires

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Behcet's Disease: Complications

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Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic testing of medical conditions related to Behcet's Disease:

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Do I have Behcet's Disease?

Wrongly Diagnosed with Behcet's Disease?

The list of other diseases or medical conditions that may be on the differential diagnosis list of alternative diagnoses for Behcet's Disease includes:

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Other Possible Causes of these Symptoms

Click on any of the symptoms below to see a full list of other causes including diseases, medical conditions, toxins, drug interactions, or drug side effect causes of that symptom.

Article Excerpts About Symptoms of Behcet's Disease:

NINDS Behcet's Disease Information Page: NINDS (Excerpt)

Symptoms of Behcet's disease include recurrent oral ulcers (resembling canker sores), recurrent genital ulcers, and eye inflammation. The disorder may also cause various types of skin lesions, arthritis, bowel inflammation, and meningitis (inflammation of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord). (Source: excerpt from NINDS Behcet's Disease Information Page: NINDS)

Questions and Answers About Behcets Disease: NIAMS (Excerpt)

BehÁetís disease affects each person differently. Some people have only mild symptoms, such as skin sores or ulcers in the mouth or on the genitals. Others have more severe disease, such as meningitis or inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can cause fever, a stiff neck, and headaches. More severe symptoms usually appear months or years after a person notices the first signs of BehÁetís disease. Symptoms can last for a long time or can come and go in a few weeks. Typically, symptoms appear, disappear, then reappear. The times when a person is having symptoms are called flares. To help the doctor diagnose BehÁetís disease and monitor its course, patients may want to keep a record of the symptoms that occur and when they occur. Because many conditions mimic BehÁetís disease, physicians must observe symptoms to make an accurate diagnosis. The four most common symptoms of BehÁetís disease are mouth sores, genital sores, inflammation of parts of the eye, and arthritis.

  • Mouth soresóMouth sores (known as oral aphthosis and aphthous stomatitis) affect almost all patients with BehÁetís disease. They are often the first symptom that a person notices and may occur long before any other symptoms appear. The sores usually have a red border and several may appear at the same time. They can be painful and make eating difficult. Mouth sores go away in 10 to 14 days but often come back. Small sores usually heal without scarring, but larger ones may scar.
  • Genital soresóAffecting more that half of all people with BehÁetís disease, most genital sores appear on the scrotum in men and vulva in women. The sores look similar to mouth sores and may be painful. After several outbreaks, they may cause scarring.
  • Uveitis (yoo.vee.EYE.tis)óInflammation of the middle part of the eye (the uvea), including the iris, occurs in more than half of all people with BehÁetís disease. This symptom is more common among men than women and typically begins within 2 years of the first symptoms. Eye inflammation can cause blurred vision and, rarely, pain and redness. Because partial loss of vision or blindness can result if the eye frequently becomes inflamed, patients should report these symptoms to their doctor immediately.
  • ArthritisóInflammation of the joints occurs in more than half of all patients with BehÁetís disease. Arthritis causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints, especially the knees, ankles, wrists, and elbows. Arthritis that results from BehÁetís disease usually lasts a few weeks and does not cause permanent damage to the joints.

In addition to mouth and genital sores, eye inflammation, and arthritis, BehÁetís disease may cause other skin problems, blood clots, and inflammation in the central nervous system and digestive organs.

Skin Problems

BehÁetís disease causes various skin sores that look like red bumps on a black-and-blue mark. The sores are red, raised, and typically appear on the legs and upper torso. In some people, sores or lesions may appear when the skin is scratched or pricked. When doctors suspect that a person may have BehÁetís disease, they may perform a test called pathergy in which they prick the skin with a small needle: 1 to 2 days after the test, people with BehÁetís disease may develop a bump where the doctor pricked the skin. Doctors disagree about the usefulness of a pathergy test because BehÁetís patients in the United States rarely have a skin reaction. However, more than half of the patients in Middle Eastern countries and Japan do have a reaction.

Blood Clots

About 10 percent of patients with BehÁetís disease have blood clots resulting from inflammation in the veins (thrombophlebitis), usually in the legs. Symptoms include pain and tenderness in the affected area, which may also be swollen and warm. Because thrombophlebitis can have severe complications, people should report symptoms to their doctor immediately. A few patients may experience artery problems such as aneurysms (a stretching or expanding of a weakened blood vessel).

Central Nervous System

BehÁetís disease affects the central nervous system in about 10 percent of all patients with the disease. The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord and helps the body to coordinate movements and process information. BehÁetís disease can cause meningoencephalitisó inflammation of the brain and the thin membrane that covers and protects it. People with meningoencephalitis may have fever, headache, stiff neck, and difficulty coordinating movement, and should report any of these symptoms to their doctor immediately. If this condition is left untreated, a stroke can result.

Digestive Tract

Only rarely does BehÁetís disease cause inflammation and ulceration (sores) in the digestive tract and lead to stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting. Because these symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other diseases of the digestive tract, such as a peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, and especially Crohnís disease, careful evaluation is essential. (Source: excerpt from Questions and Answers About Behcets Disease: NIAMS)

Behcet's Disease as a Cause of Symptoms or Medical Conditions

When considering symptoms of Behcet's Disease, it is also important to consider Behcet's Disease as a possible cause of other medical conditions. The Disease Database lists the following medical conditions that Behcet's Disease may cause:

- (Source - Diseases Database)

Symptom statistics for Behcet's Disease:

The following are statistics from various sources about the symptoms of Behcet's Disease or signs of Behcet's Disease:

  • Approximately 15% of people with Behcetís disease have cardiac or pulmonary symptoms (American Behcetís Disease Association)
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Medical articles and books on symptoms:

These general reference articles may be of interest in relation to medical signs and symptoms of disease in general:

About signs and symptoms of Behcet's Disease:

The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible signs and symptoms of Behcet's Disease. This signs and symptoms information for Behcet's Disease has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of Behcet's Disease signs or Behcet's Disease symptoms. Furthermore, signs and symptoms of Behcet's Disease may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of any signs or symptoms and whether they are indeed Behcet's Disease symptoms.


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