Takayasu’s Arteritis is similar to GCA; an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of arteries.  However, Takayasu’s Arteritis is an inflammatory disease that affects the main artery from the heart (the aorta) and its large branches.  It can affect other large arteries.  These arteries can narrow over time, causing reduced blood flow but it is unlikely that the artery becomes blocked completely.

Image of a plastic heart

What are the symptoms?

Takayasu’s Arteritis can be tricky to diagnosis, as symptoms are quite generalised and include

  • extreme fatigue
  • generally feeling unwell
  • night sweats
  • weight loss
  • joint and/or muscle pain

Some patients experience pain or tenderness over their carotid arteries (blood vessels that run up the sides of your neck).

Who is affected?

It is very rare in the U.K, with less than 100 new cases each year.  It is most prevalent amongst females.

Why does it happen?

What causes Takayasu Arteritis remains unknow.  There are many theories, but none of which have good evidence to support them.  There is a belief that there may be a genetic factor, and if 2 parents carry a certain gene, this may contribute to the development of the disease.  Infection is also suspected to contribute to the cause of Takayasu Arteritis.


Immediate treatment for Takayasu’s Arteritis is with steroids, which help reduce the inflammation in the blood vessels.  Other longer-term medications are also likely to be used, to help reduce the need for the steroids.  These include methotrexate, azathioprine and mycophenolate.  Clicking on the drug names will take you to the Versus Arthritis Website, where you can read more about the specific mediations.  Patient may also be commenced on to medication that lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.

Surgical procedures can help patients with some aspects of severe disease.  These procedures help to widen the narrowed blood vessel, or bypass a blocked blood vessel.

For more information and support on Takayasu Arteritis visit – Takayasu Arteritis or Pulseless Disease – Vasculitis UK