Takayasu's arteritis is a rare form of vasculitis, which is a series of conditions linked to inflamed blood vessels. In this particular form, the inflammation causes damage to the aorta, the artery responsible for bringing blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
Takayasu's arteritis mainly affects females under the age of 40 years. The cause of the disease has not yet been determined but is considered to be an autoimmune disorder.
Symptoms of Takayasu's Arteritis
The symptoms of Takayasu's arteritis typically appear in two stages. Patients in the first stage of Takayasu's arteritis may experience:
- Night sweats
- Sudden weight loss
- Muscle or joint pain
- Occasional fever
The arteries may have narrowed by the second stage of Takayasu's arteritis, reducing blood flow throughout the body. Symptoms may include:
- Arm weakness
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Differing blood pressure in each arm
Seek medical attention if you have any of the aforementioned symptoms, as Takayasu's arteritis is treated most effectively when detected early. If left untreated, Takayasu's arteritis can result in high blood pressure, stroke or heart failure.
Diagnosis of Takayasu's Arteritis
To diagnose Takayasu's arteritis, your doctor will perform a physical exam and review your medical history. Additional testing is typically necessary to rule out other conditions, as the symptoms of Takayasu's arteritis are similar to those of other conditions. These tests may include:
- Blood test
- Angiography, MRA or CT scan
Treatment of Takayasu's Arteritis
Treatment for Takayasu's arteritis is aimed at managing the inflammation and preventing additional blood vessel damage. Medications, such as corticosteroids, cytotoxic drugs, or TNF-alpha inhibitors may be prescribed. In the event of blocked arteries, surgery may be necessary to successfully relieve symptoms. Only a qualified medical professional can accurately assess your condition and develop a customized treatment plan.