Behçet’s disease is a rare autoimmune condition that affects various parts of the body, including the eyes, mouth, genitals, and skin.
The disease is most prevalent in Turkey and the Middle East, while data is available in China and Japan. Here’s everything you need to know about Behçet’s disease.
What is Behçet’s Disease?
Behçet’s disease is a condition that causes inflammation of blood vessels, leading to painful symptoms. It is named after Dr Hulusi Behçet, who first described the disease in 1937. Although the exact cause of Behçet’s disease is unknown, experts believe that it is due to an overactive immune system.
Symptoms of Behçet’s Disease
The symptoms of Behçet’s disease vary widely and depend on which parts of the body are affected. Some of the common symptoms include mouth ulcers, genital sores, eye inflammation, joint pain, and skin lesions. The severity of symptoms may also vary from person to person, with some experiencing mild symptoms and others suffering from severe complications.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing Behçet’s disease can be challenging, as there is no specific test for the condition. Doctors often rely on the patient’s medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests to make a diagnosis. Treatment for Behçet’s disease may include medication to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and suppress the immune system. Patients may also need to undergo surgery in some cases.
Living with Behçet’s Disease
Behçet’s disease is a chronic condition that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Patients may need to make lifestyle changes to manage their symptoms, such as avoiding trigger foods and reducing stress levels. Regular check-ups with a doctor are also essential to monitor the disease’s progress and adjust treatment plans as needed.
Prevalence in Asia
Turkey has the highest prevalence of Behçet’s disease in the world. It is estimated that around 40,000 people are affected by the disease, with a prevalence rate of around 80-420 cases per 100,000 population. In Iran, the prevalence rate is estimated to be around 80-370 cases per 100,000 population.
Elsewhere, in countries such as Japan, the prevalence rate is much lower, with an estimated 3.6 cases per 100,000 population. In China, the prevalence rate is also relatively low, with an estimated 1.5 cases per 100,000 population.
The reason for the higher prevalence of Behçet’s disease in the Middle East and surrounding regions is not yet fully understood. However, some studies suggest that genetic factors may play a role, as the disease is more common in people with Middle Eastern or Mediterranean ancestry. Environmental factors such as infections, diet, and exposure to certain chemicals may also contribute to the development of the disease.
Behçet’s disease is a rare autoimmune condition that affects many people in Asia. Although there is no cure for the disease, early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and prevent complications. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have Behçet’s disease, speak to a doctor as soon as possible to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment.