Periarteritis nodosa or polyarteritis

Periarteritis nodosa or polyarteritis is a fairly rare condition. This is an autoimmune disease and involves inflammation of the small blood vessels. The symptoms often include fever, muscle aches and feeling ill. Often people first think of a normal flu. But soon spots appear on the skin that are red-purple in color. Sometimes pneumonia or even a heart attack also occurs. Without treatment, polyarteritis can be fatal. Fortunately, this disease is rare.

Periarteritis nodosa

Another name for this is polyarteritis. This is a condition that is quite rare. This involves inflammation of the wall of the small arteries. This disease can occur throughout the body, but can also occur locally.

Who gets this disease

This disease is more common in men than in women. This usually manifests itself around middle age. Polyarteritis is very rare in young people. This is an autoimmune disease. The cause of this disease is unknown. However, the hepatitis B virus has been found in some people. This could possibly have triggered the disease, but it is not possible to say whether the virus is the causative agent. Another possibility could be an allergy.


The symptoms of polyarteritis are a general ill feeling, fever, muscle and joint pain. So it most looks like it is a normal fever. Sometimes red-purple spots also appear on the skin that do not disappear. Hands and feet may also feel numb or tingly. When polyarteritis occurs locally, specific symptoms may also arise.

Pneumonia can develop in the lungs. When polyarteritis is in the nervous system, nerve inflammation can develop. And with polyarteritis in the heart, a myocardial infarction can even occur. Kidney failure can occur in the kidneys. There is often also an increase in blood pressure.

Because blood vessels are inflamed, the typical red-purple spots occur. This is because the tissues are not sufficiently supplied with blood. There is then partial death of tissue that causes this color. Sometimes the spots turn very dark, almost black.

As a result of polyarteritis, an unusual bulge in the artery can also develop. In general, inflammation often causes tissue damage throughout the body.


Polyarteritis must always be treated, otherwise it can become life-threatening. This includes an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. First it will have to be determined whether this is actually polyarteritis. The doctor does this by means of a blood test. An inflamed blood vessel is examined more closely by means of a biopsy. It is often also checked whether the patient is infected with the hepatitis B virus.

Corticosteroids mainly have an effect in the early stages. Corticosteroids are the imitation hormones of the body’s own adrenal cortex hormone. So the chemical variant of this. Corticosteroids are often given in combination with cyclophosphamide. This drug is mainly used in cancer patients and has a cell growth inhibitory effect. They also suppress the cell division of inflammatory cells.

To discover

Anyone who suspects that he or she is dealing with this condition should have it examined by a doctor. Vague complaints such as being and remaining ill, stomach complaints, strange purple-red to black spots on the skin, these are all symptoms that should be taken seriously. The condition is rare, so the chance that someone suffers from this condition is small. Untreated polyarteritis will eventually lead to more and more complaints and even endanger life. So don’t ignore these complaints.