Behçet’s syndrome is a chronic neurological disorder which is characterized by the swelling and inflammation of many systems of the body, including the eyes, the joints, the blood vessels, the central nervous system, the digestive system and the genitals.
There are a variety of symptoms associated with Behçet’s syndrome. They include painful ulcers in the mouth, which usually resemble canker sores, ulcers on the genitals, eye diseases which lead to pain, sensitivity to light, hazy vision and if untreated, blindness, skin swelling or sores, redness and tenderness of the skin due to minor injuries, mild arthritis, inflamed veins which usually lead to blood clots, central nervous system disorders such as chronic swelling of the brain and membranes, disorders of the stomach such as Crohn’s disease, and general swelling and pain in blood vessels anywhere in the body.
Although the direct cause of Behçet’s syndrome is not yet known, possible causes may be viruses or genetic factors. People who are at highest risk for the disease are men aged 30 and over. Also, people whose families once lived along the silk route in the Mediterranean and some Asian countries, especially Japan, have a higher risk of developing the disorder.
Because the symptoms of Behçet’s syndrome can be very serious, treatment usually focuses on eliminating them. Drugs are taken to relieve ulcers and corticosteroids in the mouth or eye may relieve other symptoms.