How is Behçet's disease diagnosed?

There is no single laboratory test that can diagnose Behçet’s disease. The diagnosis is usually made based on your symptoms, including how often (typically at least three times a year) oral ulcers come back. Plus, at least two more of the following:

  • Genital sores.
  • Eye inflammation.
  • Skin problems
  • A positive pathergy test (a pathergy test tests the immune system’s functionality; it’s performed by pricking the skin and then checking to see if a red bump develops a few days after the test).

To make the correct diagnosis, other illnesses that produce mouth sores and closely resemble Behçet's disease need to be ruled out. Your doctor may order a blood test, which can help rule out some of these other conditions, including systemic lupus, Crohn's disease (an intestinal inflammatory condition) and other forms of vasculitis.

Is Behçet's disease hereditary?

There’s no clear evidence to suggest Behçet’s disease is an inherited disease. Most cases develop randomly without any family link. While it’s been reported that a small percentage of cases occur in the same family, but there’s no clear inheritance pattern.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/02/2020.


  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Behçet’s Disease. Accessed 4/16/2020.
  • Vasculitis Foundation. Behçet’s Disease. Accessed 4/16/2020.
  • American Behçet's Disease Association. Medical Summary of Behçet’s Disease. Accessed 4/16/2020.
  • Hatemi, et al. Apremilast for Behçet’s Syndrome — A Phase 2, Placebo-Controlled Study. N Engl J Med. 2015; 372: 1510-1518.
  • U.S. National Library of Medicine. Behçet disease. Accessed 4/16/2020.
  • Saadoun D, Wechsler B, Desseaux K, et al. Mortality in Behçet’s disease. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2010; 62(9): 2806-2812.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy