Behçet’s disease is a rare condition that causes inflammation in blood vessels throughout the body. Inflammation is characterized by redness, swelling and pain and is part of our normal immune response when injured or fighting infection. However, sometimes inflammation may be long term and cause problems. The inflammation caused by Behçet’s disease may lead to numerous symptoms that may seem unrelated. These signs and symptoms may include mouth sores, eye inflammation, skin rashes and lesions, joint swelling, enlarged veins and arteries, inflammation in the brain and genital sores. The symptoms vary from person to person and may disappear and recur. The cause of Behçet’s disease is unknown. It may be an autoimmune disorder, which means the body’s immune system may be mistakenly attacking its own healthy cells.
Risk factors include age, location, sex, and genes. Individuals in their 20’s and 30’s are most likely to develop Behçet’s disease. The disease occurs worldwide, but is more common in the Middle East and Far East. The condition occurs in both men and women, but is usually more severe in men. It is believed that certain genes are associated with a higher risk of developing Behçet’s.
There is no treatment to cure Behçet’s disease. Doctors usually treat signs and symptoms to reduce the risk of complications, such as blindness. There is no definitive diagnostic test for Behçet’s disease; therefore, your doctor may conduct a physical exam and blood tests to rule out other conditions. Talk with your doctor about the most current treatment options if you or a family member has been diagnosed with Behçet’s disease.