In most people, polyarteritis nodosa develops gradually over weeks to months. Early symptoms include fever, weight loss, muscle weakness, feeling sick (malaise), muscle pain, headaches or abdominal pain. These disturbances are called nonspecific because many diseases cause the same symptoms. Eventually, after these symptoms specific signs of arterial damage to one or more organs. Depending on the location and severity of damage, you may see any of the following symptoms:
- high blood pressure or kidney failure, including severe headache, fluid retention, nausea and confusion.
- nausea, vomiting or severe abdominal pain
- seizures, changes in mental function, numbness, tingling or weakness and slurred speech
- muscle or joint pain
- skin rashes, hives, rash caused by bleeding from damaged capillaries (purple) or major bleeding under the skin.
- chest pain or shortness of breath
- pain in the testes or pelvis
Since polyarteritis nodosa can cause a wide variety of symptoms, people do not have the same symptoms of this disease.