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Behcet's Disease

Behcet's Disease: Introduction

Behcet's disease is a type of vasculitis, in which there is a chronic inflammation of the blood vessels of the body. This blood vessel inflammation can result in many manifestations in different organs and body systems and can lead to potentially serious complications, such as aneurysm of the lungs, blindness, and meningitis.

Behcet's disease, also known as Behcet's syndrome, has no known cause. It is suspected to be an autoimmune disease, in which there is the body's immune system attacks healthy cells. It also has a genetic link, and people with a specific gene are at a higher risk for developing the disease.

Behcet's disease is rare in the U.S., but is far more common in the Far East and the Middle East, including Japan, China, Turkey, and Iran. It generally occurs to people in their 20s to their 40s, but can happen at any time in life.

Behcet's disease can affect all sizes and types of arteries and veins in the body. This results in a wide variety of symptoms complications that can affect almost any part of the body. The most common sites of symptoms and complications include the eyes, mouth, brain, skin, lungs, joints, genitals, and gastrointestinal tract.

Symptoms of Behcet's disease include sores on the mouth, genitals and in the gastrointestinal tract. For more information on symptoms, refer to symptoms of Behcet's disease.

Making a diagnosis of Behcet's disease begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. There is no single test to diagnose Behcet's disease, and a diagnosis is based on the presence and recurrence of symptoms typical of the disease.

To make a diagnosis of Behcet's disease, people need to have experienced recurrent mouth lesions in addition to at least two of the following symptoms: recurrent genital, skin and/or eye lesions, and/or a positive pathergy test.

In a pathergy test, the skin is pricked with a tiny sterile needle. A positive test occurs when a red bump of pustule forms at the site of the needle prick. This test is not 100 percent accurate and needs to be accompanied by other symptoms in order to increase the suspicion that a person has Behcet's disease.

Other tests may be performed to rule out other disease that may appear similar to Behcet's disease, such as genital herpes.

It is possible that a diagnosis of Behcet's disease can be missed or delayed because there is no specific diagnostic test for it, and because some symptoms can resemble symptoms of less serious conditions, such as cold sores and canker sores. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of Behcet's disease.

Behcet's disease is not curable, but with treatment, symptoms can be controlled and the risk of developing serious complications can be minimized. Treatment of Behcet's disease varies depending on the severity of symptoms, the person's age and medical history, and other factors.

Treatment generally includes medications that are taken in different forms depending on the type, location and severity of symptoms. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of Behcet's disease. ...more »

Behcet's Disease: Behcet's disease is a rare, chronic, lifelong disorder that involves inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Behcet's Disease Information Page: NINDS) ... more about Behcet's Disease.

Behcet's Disease: Recurring inflammation of small blood vessels affecting various areas. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Behcet's Disease is available below.

Behcet's Disease: Symptoms

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.

...more symptoms »

Behcet's Disease: Treatments

The treatment plan for Behcet's disease varies depending on the severity of symptoms, the presence of complications, a person's age and medical history, and other factors. Behcet's disease cannot be cured, but treatment can help to reduce symptoms and minimize the develoment of serious complications, such as meningitis, blindness and aneurysm of the lungs.

Treatment ...more treatments »

Behcet's Disease: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of Behcet's disease may be delayed or missed because it is rare in the U.S. Some symptoms may also initially be attributed to more common conditions. Symptoms of mouth, skin, or genital lesions can be confused with the lesions of cold sores, canker sores, genital herpes, herpes, or acne. When ulcerations occur in the gastrointestinal ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Behcet's Disease

Treatments for Behcet's Disease

Wrongly Diagnosed with Behcet's Disease?

Behcet's Disease: Related Patient Stories

Diagnostic Tests for Behcet's Disease

Behcet's Disease: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Behcet's Disease:

Causes of Behcet's Disease

Read more about causes of Behcet's Disease.

Disease Topics Related To Behcet's Disease

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Behcet's Disease:

Misdiagnosis and Behcet's Disease

Psoriasis often undiagnosed cause of skin symptoms in children: Children who suffer from the skin disorder called psoriasis can often go undiagnosed. The main problem is that psoriasis is rare in children, more »

Behcet's Disease: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Behcet's Disease

Medical research articles related to Behcet's Disease include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Behcet's Disease: Animations

Prognosis for Behcet's Disease

Prognosis for Behcet's Disease: Lifelong. Remissions and recurrences.

Research about Behcet's Disease

Visit our research pages for current research about Behcet's Disease treatments.

Clinical Trials for Behcet's Disease

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Behcet's Disease include:

Statistics for Behcet's Disease

Behcet's Disease: Broader Related Topics

Behcet's Disease Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Behcet's Disease, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Behcet's Disease

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

Behcet's disease is a rare, chronic, lifelong disorder that involves inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Behcet's Disease Information Page: NINDS)

Questions and Answers About Behcets Disease: NIAMS (Excerpt)

Behets disease is now recognized as a chronic condition that causes sores or ulcers in the mouth and on the genitals, and inflammation in parts of the eye. In some people, the disease also results in arthritis (swollen, painful, stiff joints) and inflammation of the digestive tract, brain, and spinal cord. (Source: excerpt from Questions and Answers About Behcets Disease: NIAMS)

Definitions of Behcet's Disease:

Rare chronic inflammatory disease involving the small blood vessels; of unknown etiology and characterized by mucocutaneous ulceration in the mouth and genital region and uveitis with hypopyon; the neuroocular form may cause blindness and death; synovitis, thrombophlebitis, gastrointestinal ulcerations, retinal vasculitis, and optic atrophy may occur as well. - (Source - Diseases Database)

Behcet's Disease is listed as a "rare disease" by the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This means that Behcet's Disease, or a subtype of Behcet's Disease, affects less than 200,000 people in the US population.
Source - National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Ophanet, a consortium of European partners, currently defines a condition rare when it affects 1 person per 2,000. They list Behcet's Disease as a "rare disease".
Source - Orphanet


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