Behçet’s disease

Never heard of Behçet’s disease? Before I made my GIP I didn’t know that this disease existed. It is a very unpleasant disease. Why? Well, you can read that below.


I had never heard of Behçet’s disease until I discussed it in my GIP. So I thought it would be interesting to put the information I found about the disease on this site.

What is behcet?

Behçet’s is a serious disease. It is characterized by inflammation in the mouth, eyes, joints (such as knees and ankles), genitals and the central nervous system. But skin ulcers and vascular infections also occur. The inflammation that occurs in your eyes can cause blindness. It is actually a chronic disease, but Behçet is also characterized by periods of recovery and deterioration. The syndrome is named after a Turkish ophthalmologist who first described the disease.

In whom is the disease most common?

Behçet’s is most common in men. It occurs in patients between the ages of 20 and 30. But in exceptional cases it can also occur during childhood.

What are the causes of behçet?

The cause of the disease is not yet known, but it is believed to be related to viruses.

How is the diagnosis made?

When the doctor examines you, he will notice the following symptoms:

  • Canker sores in the mouth and throat, which come back many times and 3 times or more in 12 months.
  • At least 2 of the following symptoms are also present:
    • Canker sores that keep coming back in the genitals.
    • Eye infections.
    • Skin problems
    • Inflammation of the skin after a needle prick.

Behçet requests early treatment. As soon as the patient notices one of the symptoms listed above, he should check whether he has recently had ulcers in the mouth?

What are the symptoms if you have the disease?

  • Headache.
  • Recurring painful ulcers in the mouth in all cases of Behçet.
  • Canker sores in the genitals in approximately 70% of cases.
  • Inflamed and watery eyes in 75% of patients.
  • Skin lesions caused by inflammation of the capillary blood vessels in half of the patients.
  • One or a few swollen and inflamed painful joints, usually knee or ankle, sometimes big toe, thumb,… in 65% of cases.
  • Severe pain in the chest, loins and renal pelvis.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Severe fatigue like flu.
  • Febrile attacks.
  • Neurological symptoms due to inflammation of the brain, meninges,… or due to overpressure in the cerebrospinal fluid in 30% of patients.
  • Phlebitis, thrombosis and aneurism of the veins to the brain, heart, lungs, liver,…


The following symptoms are less common

  • Blood in the stool.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Difficulty moving due to damage to the nervous system.
  • Deafness.
  • Heart rhythm disorders.
  • Long-term fever.
  • Pain in one half of the face, pricking with electric shocks and this can last for months.


What does the therapy entail?

Three things need to happen:

  1. Preventing new flare-ups.
  2. Stopping the raging immune reactions.
  3. Repairing the damage done in flare-ups of the disease.


Preventing new flare-ups

The teeth need to be very carefully taken care of. It deserves full attention. Brush your teeth and especially have the defects, even the minor ones, taken care of by the dentist. Bad teeth are a breeding ground for bacteria and these should certainly not be given a chance to penetrate the bloodstream. This would cause new flare-ups. One should avoid anything that can damage the teeth. Such as sugar, sharp spices, coffee and hot drinks. These stimulate the functioning of the mucous membranes. So this is how inflammation can occur again. These substances are therefore prohibited!
Iso – betadine is recommended by doctors for disinfection.

Stopping the raging immune reactions

In the first case, inflammation must be reduced by using cortisone. After treatment with cortisone, immunosuppressants are used (This is a medicine that inhibits the functioning of the immune system. The medicine is used in conditions in which the body’s inflammatory response is undesirable.) The medicine prevents the recurrence of inflammation .
Some symptoms appear to be suppressed more effectively by specific medications. Some examples:

Canker sores

Inflammations in the capillary blood vessels (these are very fine blood vessels), but also skin symptoms such as arthritis: The inflammations are in many cases temporary and leave few or no lesions. Aggressive medications are not necessary.

Neuro symptoms

There is effective medication for canker sores, skin and arthritis symptoms. Treatment of eye infections and neuron symptoms leads to recovery in some cases and to stabilization in many cases, but there are still cases in which, even with untreated medication, the symptoms flare up and worsen each time.
For treatment, one should consult a doctor with great theoretical knowledge about diseases.
What one should be able to do is suppress the immune system in those places where it overreacts, but the rest of the immune system remains intact. So that it remains able to suppress all new bacterial infections before they have the chance to revive Behçet. When a low dose of cortisone is given, the inflammations can flare up again. If a high dose of cortisone is given, the bacteria can continue to do its thing until it has done its damage.

Repairing the damage

Many organs of the body have a good recovery capacity. Damage to mucous membranes, skin, joints… usually recovers spontaneously. In eyes, brains, nerves, large blood vessels… the damage only partially recovers. A consultation with the ophthalmologist, cardiologist… is then necessary!

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