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What is ANCA vasculitis?

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ANCA vasculitis is an autoimmune condition where there is swelling in blood vessels due to abnormal antibodies that damages neutrophils (types of white blood cells). This leads to white blood cells attacking blood vessel walls in different organs, such as the lungs, kidneys, skin, nerves and joints, as noted by the University of North Carolina Health Care Kidney Center. The abbreviation ANCA stands for antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies.

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Full Answer

An alternative name for the ANCA abbreviation is the antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies, as stated by the University of North Carolina Kidney Center. Vasculitis is a medical condition that causes inflammation in blood vessels. With ANCA vasculitis, small and medium-sized arteries in different organs may be affected, states the American College of Rheumatology.

There are different types of ANCA vasculitis, including microscopic polyangitis, renal limited vasculitis, granulomatosis with polyangitis and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangitis. With renal limited vasculitis, the blood vessels affected are associated with the kidneys. Microscopic polyangitis affects multiple blood vessels in different organs, such as the lungs, kidneys and skin. However, in approximately 70 to 80 percent of patients with ANCA vasculitis, the most commonly affected organs are the kidneys and lungs, states the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Depending on which organs are affected with ANCA vasculitis, it can cause different symptoms, such as the appearance of red or purple dots on the skin, coughing, brown urine and joint pain. When the kidneys are affected, it can cause dark urine. Similarly, the symptom of coughing can occur if the lungs are affected.

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