Behçet's Disease

Behçet’s disease (BD) is a rare immune disorder that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. It can affect both arteries and veins of any size.

The most common symptoms are sores in the mouth and/or genitals but it can also affect the skin, eyes (causing the conditions iritis or uveitis), joints (arthritis) and other organs.

Behçet’s disease belongs to a family of arthritic diseases called vasculitis. The word vasculitis means inflammation of blood vessels.

It can be tough to diagnose Behçet’s disease because of how its symptoms vary from person to person. It is usually best identified by a rheumatologist.

It is very important that Behçet’s disease is treated as early and aggressively as possible to prevent serious damage to blood vessels and the tissues that they in turn supply with blood.

Behçet’s disease is typically diagnosed in young adults between the ages of 20 to 40. It affects men and women equally. It is more prevalent in people whose descendants are from the “Asian silk route” from the Far East through to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It is most common in Turkey. A gene called HLA-B51 has been associated with the disease.

Behçet’s disease tends to flare: there may be periods where symptoms are well controlled and other times they flare up and get worse. In many patients, symptoms of the disease become less severe over time.

Understanding Behçet’s Disease


Behçet’s Disease Quick Reference Guide