Behçet's Disease

View All Arthritis Types Behçet's disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder. Most symptoms of this autoimmune disease are caused by vasculitis or inflammation of the blood vessels. The effects of the disease may include blindness, stroke, swelling of the spinal cord, and intestinal complications.View All Arthritis Types
How common is Behçet’s disease?
What are the warning signs of Behçet’s disease?
What causes Behçet’s disease?
Treatment for Behçet's disease is based on treating the symptoms to reduce discomfort and to prevent serious complications. Medication may be used to reduce inflammation and to regulate the immune system. Immunosuppressive therapy is also sometimes recommended.

As Behçet's disease affects different parts of the body, patients usually need to visit several different doctors for treatment. It may be helpful to have one doctor coordinate treatments and monitor any side effects from the various medications. Often this doctor will be a rheumatologist, who is a specialist in treating inflammatory disorders like arthritis.

The following specialists may also be required to treat other symptoms affecting different body systems:
  • Gynecologist (treats genital sores in women)
  • Urologist (treats genital sores in men)
  • Dermatologist (treats genital sores in men and women, and skin and mucous membrane problems)
  • Ophthalmologist (treats eye inflammation)
  • Gastroenterologist (treats digestive tract problems)
  • Hematologist (treats disorders of the blood)
  • Neurologist (treats central nervous system problems)


Exercise helps reduce pain and prevents further joint damage. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which puts less strain on your joints. Not using a sore joint will cause the muscles around it to become weak, resulting in pain. 

There are three types of exercises:
  • Range of motion exercises reduce stiffness and help keep your joints moving. A range of motion exercise for your shoulder would be to move your arm in a large circle.
  • Strengthening exercises maintain or increase muscle strength.
  • Endurance exercises strengthen your heart, give you energy and control your weight. These exercises include walking, swimming and cycling.
  • Although rest is important during flares, doctors usually recommend moderate exercise, such as swimming or walking, when symptoms of the disease have improved or disappeared.

Moderate stretching exercises can help people with Behçet's disease keep the muscles and tendons around their affected joints strong and more flexible. Low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, water aerobics and stationary bicycling can all help you maintain strength and flexibility and increase your endurance.
Arthritis medications are designed to control a disease, slow its progression, and to help manage pain. There is a wide range of options – with new ones coming on the horizon – so understanding all possible treatments is not easy. 

These medications can be very complex, so you are encouraged to ask for in-depth explanations from your health care team – including pharmacists, who are an excellent source of information. 

To explore this area of treatment, The Arthritis Society has developed a comprehensive expert guide that delivers detailed information on medications used to treat arthritis.

Explore the Arthritis Medications A Reference Guide

The optimal treatment is what is best in each individual case – so speak with your doctor and/or pharmacist about what kind of medications are most appropriate for you.

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