Q:

How is cutaneous vasculitis of the legs treated?

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Quick Answer

If no cause is found, treatment of cutaneous vasculitis of the legs includes corticosteroids, sometimes in conjunction with an immunosuppressant, to relieve symptoms and inflammation, according to Merck Manual. Other treatment options depend on the cause of the vasculitis. Doctors may treat an infection or stop medication that cause vasculitis.

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Full Answer

Most of the time, doctors can't determine what triggers cutaneous vasculitis, Merck Manual states. Infections, especially viral infections such as hepatitis, and cancer can cause cutaneous vasculitis. Toxins and particular medications may also trigger the condition.

Doctors believe the inflammation associated with cutaneous vasculitis occurs when the immune system starts attacking blood vessels, Merck Manual explains. Inflammation created by the immune system damages the vessels, causing them to leak, clog or narrow. This damage can lead to restricted blood flow that causes tissue to die.

Once medication brings down the inflammation, patients are considered in remission from cutaneous vasculitis, Merck Manual reports. Some patients stay in remission the rest of their lives, while others experience relapses.

Patients who experience relapses of cutaneous vasculitis sometimes require long-term treatment with immunosuppressants or corticosteriods, Merck Manuals says. These medications may cause side effects such as cataracts, diabetes, decreased bone density and high blood pressure.

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