Medical Information

Explore detailed information about a range of joint problems and treatments, including medications, surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Reading this will help you understand more about your own condition. There is also a glossary with explanations of many medical terms used in orthopaedics. You can find out even more by following the links page to other related websites, journals or professional medical associations.

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Behçet’s syndrome

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.

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Editor: David P Johnson MD.
St Mary’s Hospital. Clifton Bristol. BS8 1JU.
Web site:
© OrthopaedicsOpinionOnline 2011
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Orthopaedic Opinion Online or the author. The information is provided for general background reading only and should not be relied upon for treatment. Advice should always be taken from a registered medical practitioner for individual circumstances and for treatment of any patient in any circumstances. No liability is accepted by Orthopaedic Opinion Online, or the author in respect to the information provided in respect of the content or omission or for any reason or as a result of treatment in individual circumstances. This information is not for use in the USA.