Polyarteritis nodosa (PAN) is a type of vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels). It occurs when the small and medium-sized arteries in your body become inflamed. This inflammation damages the walls of these arteries and reduces their ability to carry blood to nearby tissues and organs. Without the blood they require, the tissues and organs become injured and may cease to function properly. Polyarteritis nodosa may occur in many regions of the body, but most commonly affects the tissues associated with the peripheral nerves, kidneys and abdominal organs. It is also can affect the skin, heart, joints, muscles, eyes and reproductive organs.
While people of all ages may get polyarteritis nodosa, it is most common in people over 40 years old. There is some evidence that it may affect men more than women. It has been linked to hepatitis B and hepatitis C, but the exact cause of polyarteritis nodosa remains unknown.
When polyarteritis nodosa is diagnosed early and properly treated, it may be possible to recover completely.
Symptoms & Signs
(Not all symptoms and signs may be present.)
Polyarteritis nodosa symptoms may develop gradually over weeks or months. At the onset, there may be general systemic symptoms such as fever, sweating, weight loss, weakness, malaise, or abdominal pain. As the disease progresses, the symptoms may be related to the affected organs.
- Nervous system: Decreased alertness
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Muscle pain, numbness or tingling
- Tingling, numbness and pain in feet, legs, hands and arms
- Slurred speech
- Fluid retention
- Kidney failure
- Purpura (purple spots under the skin, produced by small bleeding blood vessels close to the skin)
- Chest pain
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart attack
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in pelvis
- Pain in testicles
There may be other symptoms depending upon the organs affected.
FPN's Educational Webinars are available to all!
The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy has countless resources for PN patients – one great example is our webinars on various topics related to understanding this condition and how you can get your life back on track!
FPN’s educational webinars have proven to help tens of thousands of patients and their caregivers on an annual basis. We record all of our programs and post these webinars online for our constituents to view again at their leisure.