...less medical jargon in a 'Quick Glance' format!
Polyarteritis Nodosa(PAN) is a serious blood vessel disease in which small and medium-sized arteries become swollen and damaged.
Unintentional weight loss
Polyarteritis nodosa is a disease of unknown cause that affects arteries, the blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to organs and tissues. It occurs when certain immune cells attack the affected arteries.
The condition affects adults more frequently than children. It damages the tissues supplied by the affected arteries because they don't receive enough oxygen and nourishment without a proper blood supply.
In this disease, symptoms result from damage to affected organs, often the skin, heart, kidneys, and nervous system.
Generalized symptoms include fever, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Muscle and joint aches are common. The skin may show rashes, swelling, ulcers, and lumps.
Nerve involvement may cause sensory changes with numbness, pain, burning, and weakness. Central nervous system involvement may cause strokes or seizures. Kidney involvement can produce varying degrees of renal failure.
Involvement of the arteries of the heart may cause a heart attack, heart failure, and inflammation of the sack around the heart.
Treatment of PAN has improved dramatically in the past couple of decades. Before the availability of effective therapy, untreated PAN was usually fatal within weeks to months. Most deaths occurred as a result of kidney failure, heart or gastrointestinal complications. However, effective treatment is now available for PAN. After diagnosis, patients are treated with high doses of corticosteroids. Other immunosuppressive drugs are also added for patients who are especially ill. In most cases of PAN now, if diagnosed early enough the disease can be controlled, and often cured.
The newly proposed regimen for patients with PAN associated with hepatitis B, consists of 2 weeks of prednisone to control the vasculitis, followed by plasmapheresis to remove immune complexes, and accompanied by antiviral therapy with lamivudine to rid the patient of the hepatitis B infection. The long–term value of anti–viral therapy for PAN associated with hepatitis C is not established.