Takayasu’s Arteritis

What is Takayasu’s Arteritis?

This rare condition occurs when the walls of the aorta become inflamed, which causes the arteries to constrict and prevents the blood from flowing to other areas of the body. In addition, this condition also decreases the amount of oxygen that the organs of the body receive.

The reasons why individuals get this disorder is not known, but it is thought that Takayasu’s arteritis is a disease of the autoimmune system. Females between the ages of 15 to 40 are most likely to be afflicted with this condition although individuals of any age or gender can be diagnosed with this disorder.

What are the Symptoms of Takayasu’s Arteritis?

There are many symptoms that indicate an individual has Takayasu’s arteritis. Many people will experience pains in their chest and lack of strength or pain in their arms. High blood pressure and a reduction in pulse rate are also common symptoms. Some individuals may have varying blood pressure levels when readings are taken in both arms. People often feel dizzy, lightheaded or tired, and they have changes in their vision. It is also common to have pains in the joints and muscles, and some individuals develop a rash on their skin.

Takayasu’s Arteritis Causes

Takayasu’s Arteritis is a type of rare disorder that causes blood vessel inflammation. In this specific disorder, the main artery that goes into the heart, the aorta, is inflamed. This disorder can cause further damage and scarring to arteries, especially when untreated. In the long-term, it can lead to heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, aneurysm, and heart attacks.

The exact cause of Takayasu’s Arteritis is generally unknown. It is likely a type of autoimmune disease in which a person’s own body attacks its arteries. It is believed that the disease is triggered by another complication, like a virus.

Despite the exact cause being unknown, there are certain groups that seem to be at higher risk of developing Takayasu’s Arteritis. Women and girls between the ages of 10 and 40, especially those in Asian regions, are most at risk. It is also possible that the disorder is genetic and runs in families, though this remains uncertain.

How is Takayasu’s Arteritis Treated?

Complications of this condition include heart failure, a stroke, a heart attack and blood clots, so it is imperative that individuals receive treatment as soon as possible. Medications, such as immunosuppressive drugs, steroids and TNF inhibitors are often prescribed for individuals with this disorder. If necessary, rituximab and tocilizumab may also be taken for treatment. Taking a daily aspirin in a low dose is often recommended to prohibit blood clots. Angioplasty surgery is often performed to increase the size of the blood vessels by using a stent. Bypass grafting is another surgical procedure that is done to reroute the flow of blood so it travels around the blocked blood vessel.

Takayasu’s Arteritis Prevention

Because Takayasu’s Arteritis’ causes are not yet fully understood, it is difficult to recommend measures to prevent the development of the disorder. As with all conditions, knowing your risk and what factors could raise that risk are vital. Early intervention and constant management of Takayasu’s Arteritis is also important, as many of the complications associated with the disorder can be prevented or mitigated with proper treatment.

Conditions like atherosclerotic vascular disease can worsen symptoms caused by Takayasu’s Arteritis, thus causing increased damage. This and other conditions should be screened for regularly and managed closely should the occur. Those with Takayasu’s Arteritis should get regular immunizations for common problems, such as the flu. To prevent serious damage to arteries, those with Takayasu’s Arteritis should be careful to manage hypertension and get regular osteoporosis screening. Prophylactic antibiotic therapy is important to prevent pneumonia.

Last Reviewed:
October 11, 2016
Last Updated:
March 31, 2019