What is Takayasu’s arteritis?
Takayasu’s arteritis is a rare type of vasculitis, which is a group of disorders that cause blood vessel inflammation.
In Takayasu’s arteritis, the inflammation damages the aorta: the large artery that carries blood from your heart to the rest of the body and its main branches.
What are the symptoms of Takayasu’s arteritis?
The symptoms of Takayasu’s arteritis occur in two stages:
- Unintended weight loss
- General aches and pains
- Mild fever
During this stage, inflammation is causing arteries to narrow so less blood, oxygen and nutrients reach the organs and tissues.
- Weakness or pain in limbs
- Lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
- Memory problems
- Trouble thinking
- Shortness of breath
- Visual changes
- High blood pressure
- Difference in blood pressure between your arms
- Decreased pulse
- Chest pain
What causes Takayasu’s arteritis?
It is currently unknown what exactly causes the inflammation in Takayasu’s arteritis. It’s likely that the condition is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own arteries by mistake.
The disease may be triggered by a virus or other infection.
How is Takayasu’s arteritis diagnosed?
A diagnosis of Takayasu’s arteritis is based upon identification of characteristic symptoms, a detailed patient history, a thorough clinical evaluation, and a variety of specialized tests.
Some of these tests include:
- CT Scan
- Blood tests
- PET scan
What are the treatments for Takayasu’s arteritis?
Treatment of Takayasu’s arteritis focuses on controlling the inflammation with medications and preventing further damage to blood vessels. The disease can sometimes be difficult to treat because even if it appears to be in remission, it may still be active.
- Corticosteroids to control inflammation
- Drugs that suppress or regulate the immune system
Surgical options include:
- Bypass surgery
- Blood vessel widening
- Aortic valve surgery
Where can I find out more about Takayasu’s arteritis?