What is Behcet’s syndrome?
Behcet’s syndrome is a disease that involves vasculitis, which is inflammation of the blood vessels. It engenders problems in many parts of the body. Although the cause of the disease is still unknown, it has become recognized as a multisystemic inflammatory disease with heterogeneity of clinical manifestations. Complicating matters, clinical presentations vary among geographical regions and manifestations tend to cluster together.
How common is Behcet’s syndrome?
Behcet’s syndrome is a rare condition in the United States, but is common in the Middle East and Asia. It mainly affects people in their 20s and 30s. Diagnosing Behcet’s can take a long time, because symptoms may come and go, and it may take months or even years to have all of the symptoms
Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of Behcet’s syndrome?
Behcet’s disease symptoms is various from person to person. It may disappear and recur on its own. Symptoms may become less severe over time. Depending on which parts of your body are affected, the signs and symptoms will manifest respectively. Some common areas influenced by Behcet’s disease include:
Painful mouth sores that look similar to canker sores are the most common sign of Behcet’s disease. They begin as raised, round lesions in the mouth that quickly turn into painful ulcers. The sores usually heal in one to three weeks, though they do recur.
Skin problems can possibly vary. Some people may develop acne-like sores on their body. Others may develop red, raised and tender nodules on their skin, especially on the lower legs.
People with Behcet’s disease may develop sores on their genitals. The red, opens sores commonly occur on the scrotum or the vulva. The sores are usually painful and may leave scars.
Behcet’s disease may cause inflammation in the eye — a condition called uveitis. Uveitis causes redness, pain and blurred vision in one or both eyes. In people with Behcet’s disease, the condition and may come and go.
Joint swelling and pain often affect the knees in people with Behcet’s disease. The ankles, elbows or wrists also may be involved. Signs and symptoms may last one to three weeks and go away on their own.
Inflammation in blood vessels (veins and arteries) may occur in Behcet’s disease, causing redness, pain, and swelling in the arms or legs when a blood clot results. Inflammation in the large arteries can lead to complications, such as aneurysms and narrowing or blockage of the vessel.
Behcet’s disease may cause a variety of signs and symptoms that affect the digestive system, including abdominal pain, diarrhea and bleeding.
Behcet’s disease may cause inflammation in the brain and nervous system that leads to headache, fever, disorientation, poor balance or stroke.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes Behcet’s syndrome?
Actually, until now no one knows exactly what the cause of Behcet’s disease is. But it seems to be an autoimmune disorder, which means the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks some of its own healthy cells. It’s probably that genetic and environmental factors also play a role. Several genes have been found to be associated with the disease. Some researchers believe a virus or bacterium may trigger Behcet’s disease in people who have certain genes that make them susceptible to Behcet’s.
What increases my risk for Behcet’s syndrome?
There are many risk factors for Behcet’s syndrome, such as:
Behcet’s disease commonly affects men and women in their 20s and 30s, though children and older adults also can develop the condition.
Where you live
People from countries in the Middle East and Far East, including Turkey, Iran, Japan and China, are more likely to develop Behcet’s.
While Behcet’s disease occurs in both men and women, the disease is usually more severe in men.
Having certain genes is related to a higher risk of developing Behcet’s.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is Behcet’s syndrome diagnosed?
It is found that no tests can diagnose definitively whether or not you have Behcet’s disease. Instead, your doctor relies primarily on your signs and symptoms to diagnose Behcet’s disease. Your doctor may order blood tests or other laboratory sts to rule out other conditions. Your doctor may use other factors for your diagnosis. The classification criteria require:
Because almost everyone with Behcet’s will have mouth sores at some point, this sign is generally necessary for a diagnosis. The diagnostic criteria require mouth sores that have recurred at least three times in 12 months.
Additionally, to receive a diagnosis of Behcet’s disease you must have at least two additional signs, such as:
Sores that recur may indicate Behcet’s disease.
An ophthalmologist can identify signs of inflammation in your eyes.
A variety of rashes or acne-like sores may be caused by Behcet’s disease.
Positive pathergy test
In a pathergy test, your doctor inserts a sterile needle into your skin and then examines the area one to two days later. If the pathergy test is positive, a small red bump forms under your skin where the needle was inserted. This indicates your immune system is overreacting to a minor injury.
How is Behcet’s syndrome treated?
Your doctor works to control any signs and symptoms you experience during flares with medications such as:
Skin creams, gels and ointments
Topical corticosteroid medicines are applied directly to skin and genital sores in order to reduce inflammation and pain.
Special mouthwashes that contain corticosteroids and other agents to reduce the pain of mouth sores may ease your discomfort.
Eyedrops containing corticosteroids or other anti-inflammatory medicines can relieve pain and redness in your eyes if inflammation is mild.
Severe cases of Behcet’s disease require treatments to control damage from the disease between flares. If you have moderate to severe Behcet’s disease, your doctor may prescribe:
Corticosteroids to control inflammation
Some side effects of corticosteroids include weight gain, persistent heartburn, high blood pressure and bone thinning (osteoporosis).
Medications that suppress your immune system
By stopping your immune system from attacking healthy tissues, immunosuppressive drugs reduce the inflammation
Medications that alter your immune system’s response
Interferon alfa-2b (Intron A) regulates the activity of your immune system to control inflammation. It may be used alone or with other drugs to help control skin sores, joint pain and eye inflammation in people with Behcet’s disease.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Behcet’s syndrome?
Unfortunately, it is believed that there is no prevention for Behcet’s syndrome.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Behcet’s syndrome. https://medlineplus.gov/behcetssyndrome.html . Accessed December 27, 2016.
Behcet’s syndrome. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beh%C3%A7et's_disease . Accessed December 27, 2016.
Behcet’s syndrome. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/behcets-disease/home/ovc-20178984 . Accessed December 27, 2016.
Review Date: August 7, 2017 | Last Modified: August 8, 2017