Takayasu's arteritis is a rare vasculitis that affects the aorta and its branches. Because of the inflammation of these arteries, blood flow is severely cut, affecting especially those leading to the arms and head of the affected people.
Initially, the symptoms are rather quotidian. Half of the patients experience malaise, fever, night sweats, weight loss, joint pain (arthralgia) and fatigue along with anaemia. Once this early phase has passed, the disease goes into a chronic stage with inflammation and destructive changes in the aorta.
For other patients, however, the arteritis appears with late vascular changes without forewarning. In the late stage of the illness, weakness in the arterial walls may allow for localised aneurysms.
Most patients respond to prednisone. Because high-dose, long-term prednisone use has many side effects, the physician must watch dosages taper off over several weeks.
Takayasu's arteritis is rarely seen in America — the vasculitis of choice in the United States seems to be atherosclerosis. Takayasu's is found in more commonly in young women of Japanese descent who are between the ages of 15 and 30.