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It is not entirely clear what causes vasculitis but genetics, infection and the immune system seem to play a role.

The immune system, the part of your body that usually fights infection, can attack blood vessel cells by mistake which results in inflammation. Some medical experts believe that vasculitis is an autoimmune disease.

Vasculitis can affect people of any age, race or gender. Smoking and living with a chronic infection, such as infectious hepatitis, can put you at greater risk of developing vasculitis. Cancer, certain medications and other diseases known to cause inflammation can also result in vasculitis.

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