Also known as: silk road disease, Behçet’s disease is a systemic inflammatory vasculitis, characterized by a course of remission and relapse of oral ulcers, genital ulcers, skin lesions and ocular lesions. It can affect the arteries and veins of almost any system and has been shown to involve the gastrointestinal and neurological systems. The cause of Behçet’s is unknown but it is believed to be triggered by an infectious or environmental agent in a genetically predisposed individual.
- Mouth and genital sores
- Rashes and inflamed eyes
- Pain in the eyes or joints
- Rashes on the skin and the appearance of acne
- Red and tender lumps on the skin
- Visual problems such as sensitivity to light, blurred vision
- Eye redness
- The cause of Behcet’s syndrome is not known, but it is thought to be an autoimmune disorder where the body immune system attacks its own normal cells
- Genetic and environmental factors may play a role
- Some researches claim than Behcet’s syndrome can be triggered by a virus or bacterium in people with genes that may cause a predisposition to Behcet’s syndrome
- Uveitis, a symptom of Behcet’s syndrome can lead to decreased vision or blindness
- Vascular problems such as stroke can occur due to decreased blood flow to the brain
- Formation of blood clots due to inflammation of arteries and veins
The HLA class I molecule HLA-B51 is the most strongly associated risk factor and has been shown to be associated with Behçet’s in Turkish and Asian patients, though the association in Caucasian patients is much weaker. Testing for HLA-B51 is a useful, though not diagnostic, tool for Behçet’s as the vast majority of HLA-B51 carriers do not develop Behçet’s. Diagnosis is instead based on the recurrence of symptoms including oral ulcers, genital ulcers, skin lesions and ocular lesions. Treatment options depend on organs involved.
Behcet’s syndrome has no specific cure. Treatment includes medication to control signs and symptoms.
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