We are a European reference centre for the diagnosis and treatment of Behçet's autoimmune disease.
What is Behçet's disease?
Behcet's disease, also known as Behcet's syndrome, is a chronic disorder, autoimmune and rare, the cause of which is unknown. This disorder is caused by inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body and its manifestations, or symptoms, are apparently unrelated.
The systemic vasculitis resulting in skin and mucosal lesionsaffecting the eyes, mouth or genitals. These symptoms are painful and can extend to the joints, gut, and central and peripheral nervous systems.
This autoimmune disease appears between the ages of 20 and 40 and progresses progressively.The symptoms may appear intermittently, with periods of acute and periods of remission. Regardless of the duration of symptoms, this disease severely compromises patients' quality of life and can even lead to blindness.
Causes of Behçet's disease
As with other autoimmune diseases, there is no known cause for the origin of the disease. It is believed that appears in genetically predisposed individuals who are exposed to some external agentprobably bacteria. Patients with the disease often have defects in the immune system, which does not fulfil its function of defending the body against infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria, and is conducive to the onset of the disease.
It has been studied that people with Behçet's disease, however, present a increased frequency of one type of human leukocyte antigens (HLA) than the rest of the population, which could indicate a greater predisposition to suffer from the disease. HLA is a set of molecules whose function is to recognise what is foreign to the body and trigger the immune response. Its structure determines tissue acceptance in transplants and has also been linked to an increased likelihood of autoimmune diseases, such as Behçet's syndrome.
Symptoms of Behçet's disease
Behçet's disease is a multisystemic pathology whose symptoms vary from person to person but whose common feature is ulcers.. These ulcers are painful, superficial or deep, round or oval and may have a white or yellow base with a red halo.
- The mouth and genitals are the areas of the body where they appear most frequently.although it is also common for the disease to present eye ulcers, skin lesions or arthritis.
- Sores in the mouth or on the genitalia
- Eye inflammation
- Skin lesions are more frequent among women.
- Joint pain
- Recurrent ulcers in the digestive tract
- Less frequent are the central nervous system symptoms.
- Vasculitis: it is estimated that this is the first symptom of the disease and from which all other symptoms derive, inflammation of large veins, particularly those in the legs can occur along with the formation of blood clots (thrombophlebitis). The walls of an involved artery may become inflamed and form small sacs (aneurysm). In very rare cases, blood clots in the veins travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), resulting in episodes of chest pain, coughing, difficulty or shortness of breath (dyspnoea) and coughing up blood (haemoptysis).
Treatment of Behçet's disease
The treatment of Behçet's disease is mainly symptomatic. It is aimed at reducing symptoms and preventing complications. In any case, at Biosalud Day Hospital we always design a personalised treatment for each patient that combines the different therapeutic techniques of biological medicine.
In addition, we focus on controlling and eliminating the patient's symptoms, but above all we monitor the evolution of the disease, because the autoimmune process may not stop in a single tissue, but rather several autoimmune diseases may overlap in the same patient.