Information for Patients
Behcet's syndrome is a disease that involves vasculitis, which is inflammation of the blood vessels. It causes problems in many parts of the body. The most common symptoms are
- Sores in the mouth
- Sores on the sex organs
- Other skin sores
- Swelling of parts of the eye
- Pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints
More serious problems can include meningitis, blood clots, inflammation of the digestive system and blindness.
Doctors aren't sure what causes Behcet's. It is rare in the United States, but is common in the Middle East and Asia. It mainly affects people in their 20s and 30s. Diagnosing Behcet's can take a long time, because symptoms may come and go, and it may take months or even years to have all of the symptoms. There is no cure. Treatment focuses on reducing pain and preventing serious problems. Most people can control symptoms with treatment.
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Behçet disease Behçet disease is an inflammatory condition that affects many parts of the body. The health problems associated with Behçet disease result from widespread inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis). This inflammation most commonly affects small blood vessels in the mouth, genitals, skin, and eyes.Painful mouth sores called aphthous ulcers are usually the first sign of Behçet disease. These sores can occur on the lips, tongue, inside the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, the throat, and the tonsils. The ulcers look like common canker sores, and they typically heal within one to two weeks. About 75 percent of all people with Behçet disease develop similar ulcers on the genitals. These ulcers occur most frequently on the scrotum in men and on the labia in women.Behçet disease can also cause painful bumps and sores on the skin. Most affected individuals develop pus-filled bumps that resemble acne. These bumps can occur anywhere on the body. Some affected people also have red, tender nodules called erythema nodosum. These nodules usually develop on the legs but can also occur on the arms, face, and neck.An inflammation of the eye called uveitis is found in more than half of people with Behçet disease. Eye problems are more common in younger people with the disease and affect men more often than women. Uveitis can result in blurry vision and an extreme sensitivity to light (photophobia). Rarely, inflammation can also cause eye pain and redness. If untreated, the eye problems associated with Behçet disease can lead to blindness.Joint involvement is also common in Behçet disease. Often this affects one joint at a time, with each affected joint becoming swollen and painful and then getting better.Less commonly, Behçet disease can affect the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system), gastrointestinal tract, large blood vessels, heart, lungs, and kidneys. Central nervous system abnormalities can lead to headaches, confusion, personality changes, memory loss, impaired speech, and problems with balance and movement. Involvement of the gastrointestinal tract can lead to a hole in the wall of the intestine (intestinal perforation), which can cause serious infection and may be life-threatening.The signs and symptoms of Behçet disease usually begin in a person's twenties or thirties, although they can appear at any age. Some affected people have relatively mild symptoms that are limited to sores in the mouth and on the genitals. Others have more severe symptoms affecting various parts of the body, including the eyes and the vital organs. The features of Behçet disease typically come and go over a period of months or years. In most affected individuals, the health problems associated with this disorder improve with age.