Pronounced: polly-ar-ter-ITIS no-DO-sahEn Español (Spanish Version)
Polyarteritis nodosa is an autoimmune disease. Your immune system is your body’s defense system. It fights diseases and infections. An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your body's immune system mistakenly attacks your own body. With polyarteritis nodosa, medium-sized arteries and, less commonly, small arteries (blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body) become inflamed and damaged. The inflammation of the arteries affects many different organs, including the:
- Central nervous system (part of the nervous system that includes the brain and spinal cord)
- Peripheral nerves (nerves of the feet, hands, legs, arms, and face)
- Gastrointestinal tract (part of the digestive system that includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines)
- Ear, nose, and throat
Although polyarteritis nodosa is a rare disease, it is a potentially serious condition that requires care from your doctor. The sooner it is treated, the better the outcome. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor right away.
Last reviewedNovember 2012by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.