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This booklet is for anyone who wants to find out more about Behçet’s syndrome – or Behçet’s disease, as it is also known. We explain the main facts about Behçet’s syndrome, including the main symptoms and how they are treated. Our aim is to answer the most common questions raised but further information can be obtained from the organizations listed at the back of the booklet.
What is Behçet’s syndrome?
We do not know what causes Behçet’s syndrome, or even if there is just one cause. Whatever the cause, the result is that affected tissues become inflamed. Small blood vessels, particularly, become inflamed (known as vasculitis) and this can cause symptoms in many different parts of the body, as explained later in this booklet. Although doctors distinguish this type of vasculitis from other forms (described in the ARC booklet ‘Vasculitis’) some of the symptoms may be similar.
It is possible that a specific virus or bacterium may be the cause of the syndrome, but no specific infection has yet been clearly identified. It is also possible that Behçet’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, but this is not yet certain, and the disease is different from other autoimmune diseases. There is no evidence that Behçet’s syndrome can be passed on to other people. It is not associated with cancer, or with a specific diet, or with any particular lifestyle (past or present). Most people with the syndrome will live a normal lifespan.
Editor: David P Johnson MD.
St Mary’s Hospital. Clifton Bristol. BS8 1JU.
Web site: www.orthopaedics.co.uk
© OrthopaedicsOpinionOnline 2011 www.OrthopaedicOpinionOnline.co.uk
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