Takayasu's arteritis (TAK) is a disease involving inflammation in the walls of the largest arteries in the body: the aorta and its main branches. These blood vessels supply blood to the head, arms, legs and internal organs, such as the kidneys. Inflammation may cause the vessels' walls to thicken. With time, this thickening results in a narrowing inside the artery, called a "stenosis." If severe enough, such narrowing can reduce blood flow and result in less oxygen sent to the body parts or organs that the artery supplies.
The disease results from an attack by the body's own immune system, causing inflammation in the walls of arteries. The inflammation leads to narrowing of the arteries, and this can reduce blood flow to many parts of the body.
Stenosis can cause symptoms and problems ranging from annoying to dangerous including pain with use of an arm or leg, dizziness, headaches or fainting, weakness and fatigue, high blood pressure, chest pain, heart attack or a stroke. TAK can also result in a weak pulse or loss of pulse in arms, legs and organs
TAK most often occurs in people ages 15–40 years, but sometimes affects younger children or middle-aged adults. Nine of 10 patients are female. TAK seems to be more common in East Asia, India and, perhaps, Latin America, than in other regions. It occurs in a wide range of ethnic groups.
TAK is a chronic disease and may need long-term drug treatment to prevent further narrowing of affected arteries. Steroids and immune-suppressing drugs are an important part of treatment. The dose and length of treatment depend on how bad the disease is and how long the patient has had the disease.