by Amy Scholten, MPH
Behcet disease is a rare, long-term disorder. Blood vessels are inflamed throughout the body. It causes ulcers in the mouth and genitals, and inflammation in the eyes. Treatment improves outcomes.
The cause of Behcet disease is unknown. The body’s immune system may be too active. When this happens, healthy tissue is attacked. It may be due to genes or a reaction to an infection.
Behcet disease is more common in men from the Middle East and Mediterranean. It is also more common people aged 20 to 39 years old. Other things that raise the risk are:
Symptoms vary from mild to very serious. They also tend to come and go over months or years. The most common are:
Behcet can also cause serious problems such as:
These problems need medical care right away.
Diagnosing Behcet disease is difficult. Symptoms appear slowly, over months or years. They are similar to symptoms of many other diseases.
There are no specific tests to diagnose Behcet disease. It may be suspected based on:
Mouth sores at least 3 times within a year and at least 2 of these:
A pathergy skin test may be used. The skin is pricked with a small needle. If a bump develops at the site of the skin prick, it could mean Behcet disease. However, many people with the disease do not have a reaction to the skin prick.
For some people, the illness may go away on its own. If care is needed, it focuses on treating problems to prevent serious complications. With proper care, Behcet disease can be managed.
Treatment options may be:
There are no guidelines to prevent Behcet disease.
American Behcet's Disease Association
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Behcet's disease. American Behcet's Disease Association website. Available at: https://www.behcets.com/basics-of-behcets/. Accessed July 16, 2021.
Behçet disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal-and-connective-tissue-disorders/vasculitis/beh%C3%A7et-disease. Accessed July 16, 2021.
Behcet syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/behcet-syndrome. Accessed July 16, 2021.
Davatchi F. Behçet's disease. Int J Rheum Dis. 2018;21(12):2057-2058.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 7/16/2021
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