Behçet's disease, also called Behçet's syndrome, is a rare chronic disease that causes inflammation of the blood vessels in different parts of the body.
Behçet's disease develops in the form of symptoms of infection due to an autoimmune disorder in the body's immune system.
Behçet's disease was named after the Turkish dermatologist and scientist Hulusi Behçet, who first identified the three main symptoms of the syndrome in one of his patients in 1924 and published his research on the disease in 1936.
The name of the disease was officially recognized as Morbus Behcet at the International Dermatology Congress in Geneva in 1947.
What are the Causes of Behçet's Disease?
Although the source of Behçet's disease is not known exactly, it is thought by medical professionals to be partially caused by genetic and partially environmental factors, as it is common in the Middle East and Asia regions in general.
It is thought by medical professionals that the cause of Behçet's disease is that the body shows signs of a reaction to infection due to a disorder in the immune system.
Autoimmune diseases mean the immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells. The signs and symptoms of Behçet's disease are generally thought to be due to inflammation of the blood vessels, namely vasculitis. This condition can be observed in any arteries and veins and can damage any vein of any size in the body.
As a result of studies carried out by medical professionals to date, the existence of several genes associated with the disease has been revealed.
Some researchers think that in individuals with genes susceptible to Behçet's disease, a virus or bacteria species can trigger these genes to cause the disease.
Although Behçet's disease can also occur in children and older adults, it usually affects men and women in their 20s or 30s. The disease is more severe in men than in women.
Geography is a factor affecting the incidence of Behçet's disease. China, Iran, Japan, Cyprus, Israel and Turkey to be seen mainly in the Middle East and East Asian countries people are more likely to Behcet's disease. For this reason, the disease is also unofficially referred to as Silk Road disease.
What are the Symptoms of Behçet's Disease?
In the early stages of Behçet's disease, many signs and symptoms that may seem unrelated to each other can be seen. Symptoms of Behçet's disease vary from person to person, and may worsen and flare up over time or become less severe and subside.
Symptoms and signs of Behçet's disease vary depending on which parts of the body are affected. These signs and symptoms include mouth sores, eye inflammation, skin rashes and lesions, and genital sores. The progressive complications of Behçet's disease depend on the signs and symptoms seen.
Among the areas commonly affected by Behçet's disease, the mouth comes first. Painful mouth sores resembling canker sores occur in and around the mouth as the most common symptom of Behçet's disease. Small, painful, raised lesions soon become painful ulcers. The sores usually heal within one to three weeks, but this symptom often recurs.
Some of the individuals suffering from Behçet's disease develop acne-like sores on their bodies. In other cases, red, swollen and highly sensitive nodules, that is, abnormal tissue growths, develop on the skin, especially on the lower legs.
Red and open sores may occur on the reproductive organs, namely the scrotum or vulva. These sores are often painful and may leave scars after healing.
Individuals with Behçet's disease have inflammation in their eyes. This inflammation occurs in the uvea layer in the middle of the eye, which consists of three layers and is called uveitis.
This condition causes redness, pain and blurred vision in both eyes. In people with Behçet's disease, this condition can flare up or subside over time.
Untreated uveitis can cause decreased vision or blindness over time. People with signs and symptoms of Behçet's disease in their eyes should visit an ophthalmologist regularly. Proper treatment can help prevent this symptom from developing complications.
Joint swelling and pain in individuals with Behçet's disease often affect the knees. In some cases, ankles, elbows or wrists may also be affected. Signs and symptoms can last for one to three weeks and resolve spontaneously.
The inflammation that occurs when a blood clot appears in the veins can cause redness, pain, and swelling in the arms or legs. Inflammation in large arteries and veins may also lead to complications such as aneurysm, narrowing or occlusion of the arteries.
The effect of Behçet's disease on the digestive system can be seen in the form of various signs and symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and bleeding.
Inflammation in the brain and nervous system due to Behçet's disease can cause fever, headache, dizziness, loss of balance or paralysis.
Individuals who notice unusual signs and symptoms that may indicate Behçet's disease should make an appointment with a doctor. Individuals diagnosed with Behçet's disease should also consult their doctor if they notice new signs and symptoms.
How Is Behçet's Disease Diagnosed?
There is no test to determine Behçet's disease. For this reason, the diagnosis of the disease is made by examining the signs and symptoms by the doctor.
Since almost every individual with the disease develops mouth sores, the diagnosis of Behçet's disease must first be seen at least three times in 12 months.
In addition, diagnosis requires at least two additional signs. These include recurrent wounds on the genitals, eye inflammation and skin wounds. In this case, blood tests can rule out the possibility of other possible medical conditions.
One of the indirect tests that can be done for Behçet's Disease is the pathergy test. For this test, the doctor inserts a completely sterile needle under the skin, and examines the area after two days.
If a small, red lump appears at the place where the needle was inserted, it indicates that the immune system is overreacting, even to a minor injury. Although this test alone does not indicate the presence of Behçet's disease, it helps diagnose it.
Treatment of Behçet's Disease
The treatment of Behçet's disease may vary depending on the person's complaints. Among the treatment methods, there may be changes in the lifestyle of the person or it can be with drugs that should be used for a long time.
In Behçet's disease, especially drug treatment may vary according to the severity and region of the disease. Behçet's disease usually manifests itself as aphthae in the mouth. In this case, it may cause a decrease in the quality of life of the person. Cortisone sprays or solutions can usually be given for recurrent oral aphthae.
Again, ulcers in the genital area are very similar to aphthae. Cortisone-containing solutions or creams can be recommended for the genital area. In addition, various pain medications can be recommended by the physician in response to pain in the leg area.
People with Behçet's disease should be followed up regularly and should be treated regularly. It is observed that Behçet's disease causes blindness in cases such as not being treated regularly or disrupting treatment.