How Behcet's Disease Affects the Skin, Eyes, and Joints

Symptoms of Behcet's Disease: Skin Problems
Skin problems are a common symptom of Behcet's disease. Skin sores often resemble pus-filled bumps or a bruise. The sores are red and are raised, and typically appear on the legs and the upper torso. In some people, sores or lesions may appear when the skin is scratched or pricked.
When doctors suspect that a person has Behcet's disease, they may perform a pathergy test, in which they prick the skin with a small needle. One to two days after the test, people with Behcet's disease may develop a red bump where the doctor pricked the skin; however, only half of the Behcet's patients in Middle Eastern countries and Japan have this reaction. The reaction is even less commonly observed in patients from the United States; but if this reaction occurs, then Behcet's disease is likely.
Symptoms of Behcet's Disease: Eye Problems
Uveitis involves inflammation of the middle or back part of the eye (the uvea), including the iris, and occurs in more than half of all people with Behcet's disease. This symptom of Behcet's disease is more common among men than women, and typically begins within 2 years of the first symptoms. Eye inflammation can cause blurred vision; rarely, it causes pain and redness. Because partial loss of vision or blindness can result if the eye frequently becomes inflamed, patients should report these symptoms to their doctor immediately.
Symptoms of Behcet's Disease: Arthritis
Arthritis (inflammation of the joints) occurs in more than half of all patients with Behcet's disease. Arthritis causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints, especially in the:
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Wrists
  • Elbows.
Arthritis that results from Behcet's disease usually lasts a few weeks and does not cause permanent damage to the joints.
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