Periarteritis nodosa

Periarteritis nodosa

Periarteritis nodosa (PAN) is a rare autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the arteries. It is most commonly found in people between the ages of 20 and 40. Symptoms of PAN include fever, joint pain, muscle aches, and abdominal pain. PAN can also lead to kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, and neurological problems. Treatment of PAN involves controlling the inflammation with steroid medications.

Causes of Periarteritis nodosa

The exact cause of how PAN develops is unknown. However, it is believed to be caused either by an autoimmune response or by an infection. In autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own cells, tissues, and organs. A virus is thought to trigger an immune response, which then results in inflammation of the arteries.

Risk Factors of Periarteritis nodosa

Women, and especially young women, have a higher risk of developing PAN than men. Other risk factors include having certain genetic conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, or being exposed to certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs. People with HIV/AIDS are also at an increased risk of developing PAN.

Symptoms of Periarteritis nodosa

The most common symptoms of PAN include:

  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Skin changes, such as redness or rash
  • Enlarged lymph nodes

Other serious complications of PAN include kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, and neurological problems.

Diagnosis of Periarteritis nodosa

PAN is often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can mimic those of other diseases, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. To diagnose PAN, a doctor will perform a physical exam, order laboratory tests, and obtain imaging tests.

Laboratory tests are typically used to determine levels of certain proteins, including erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP). Imaging tests, such as X-ray, may also be used to check for inflammation in the arteries.

Treatment of Periarteritis nodosa

Treatment of PAN is typically aimed at controlling the inflammation. This is usually done with corticosteroids, such as prednisone. Other immunosuppressive medications and biological therapies may also be used. In more severe cases, surgery may be needed.

In addition to medication, it is important for people with PAN to get regular physical activity and to eat a healthy and balanced diet. It is also important to avoid smoking, as smoking has been linked to an increased risk of developing PAN.