Behcet's (beh-CHETS) disease, also called Behcet's syndrome, is a rare disorder that causes blood vessel inflammation throughout your body.
The disease can lead to numerous signs and symptoms that may seem unrelated at first. They may include mouth sores, eye inflammation, skin rashes and lesions, and genital sores. The effects of Behcet's disease vary from person to person and may clear up on their own.
Treatment involves medications to reduce the signs and symptoms of Behcet's disease and to prevent serious complications, such as blindness.
Behcet's disease symptoms vary from person to person. It may disappear and recur on its own. Symptoms may become less severe over time. Your signs and symptoms depend on which parts of your body are affected.
Areas commonly affected by Behcet's disease include:
Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice any unusual signs and symptoms that might indicate Behcet's disease. If you've been diagnosed with Behcet's disease, see your doctor if you notice any new signs and symptoms.
No one knows exactly what causes Behcet's disease. But it may be an autoimmune disorder, which means the body's immune system mistakenly attacks some of its own healthy cells. It's likely 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.
No tests can determine definitively whether or not you have Behcet's disease. Instead, your doctor relies primarily on your signs and symptoms to diagnose Behcet's disease. He or she may conduct blood tests or other laboratory tests to rule out other conditions.
Criteria have been established for the diagnosis of Behcet's disease, but these aren't always essential for the diagnosis of the disease. Your doctor may use other factors for your diagnosis. The classification criteria require:
In addition, to receive a diagnosis of Behcet's disease you must have at least two additional signs, such as:
Complications of Behcet's disease depend on your signs and symptoms. For instance, untreated uveitis can lead to decreased vision or even blindness. People with eye signs and symptoms of Behcet's disease need to visit an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) regularly because treatment can help prevent this complication.
The unpredictability of Behcet's disease can make it particularly frustrating. Taking good care of yourself may help you better cope. Your approach to caring for yourself will depend on what signs and symptoms you're feeling on a particular day. In general, try to:
Factors that may increase your risk of Behcet's include: