Takayasu Arteritis is a rare disease that is an inflammation of the walls of blood vessels, and generally attacks women from the Asian continent. This disease was discovered by Dr. Mikito Takayasu in 1908 and named after the inventor's name. Patients with Takayasu arteritis are generally Asian women under the age of 40 years. This disease is a rare vascular disease, where the frequency of the occurrence of Takayasu arteritis is only about two to three cases per one million human population each year.
Besides Takayasu arteritis, this disease is also known by other names, such as young female arteritis, pulseless disease, aortic arch syndrome, and reversed coarctation.
What is the cause of Takayasu arteritis?
Takayasu arteritis was first discovered due to the appearance of circular blood vessels in the retina of the eye followed by the absence of a pulse in the patient's wrist, which causes this disease often referred to as pulseless disease. Furthermore it is known that it turns out that blood vessel malformation in the retina is a response to narrowing of arterial arteries in the neck, and the absence of a pulse is a result of narrowing of the arteries in the sufferer's arm.
In this disease, inflammation causes damage to the aorta, which is a large artery that carries from the heart to the rest of the body, and other blood vessels associated with the aorta. This disease can cause blockage or narrowing of arteries (stenosis) or abnormal artery dilation (aneurysm). In more severe cases, narrowing of the arteries can cause a decrease in blood flow which results in reduced supply of oxygen to all organs of the body, while aneurysms can progress to failure of heart valve function or leaking of the aortic arteries.
The exact cause of Takayasu's arterial disease is unknown. However, most likely this disease is caused by an autoimmune condition, in which the immune system in the form of white blood cells patients attack the aortic blood vessels and their branches. Another possibility is that the disease is caused by a virus or infection, ranging from infection to spirochetes, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, to streptococcal microorganisms. This disease also decreases in the family, so there is a possibility that genetic factors also have an influence on the cause of this disease. The scarcity of cases of disease causes research on the exact cause of this disease to be more difficult.
Characteristics and symptoms of Takayasu arteritis
The signs and symptoms of Takayasu arteritis are generally divided into two stages, namely the first stage in the form of a systemic phase and the second stage in the form of an occlusive phase. However, in some patients, both of these stages can take place at the same time.
First stage: systemic phase
The symptoms are:
- weight loss
- body aches and pains
- mild fever
At this stage, the symptoms that appear are still very general and not specific. Most patients also experience increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) at this stage.
Second stage: occlusive phase
The symptoms are:
- pain in parts of the body, especially the hands and feet (claudication)
- dizziness, dizziness, fainting
- memory problems and thinking abilities
- short breath
- short blood pressure
- difference in blood pressure in both arms
- decrease in pulse
- sounds in the arteries when checking using a stethoscope.
In the second stage, inflammation of blood vessels has caused narrowing of the arteries (stenosis), so that the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the organs and tissues of the body decreases. Narrowing of the arteries in the neck, arms and wrist also causes the pulse to be undetected so that the patient is impressed ‘has no pulse.
Complications caused by Takayasu arteritis
As mentioned earlier, Takayasu's arteritis is the largest condition of inflammation of blood vessels and its branching, so that this disease can also cause further complications of other blood vessel-related diseases, including:
- Narrowing and hardening of the arteries which can cause a decrease in blood flow to various tissues and organs of the body.
- Rupture of blood vessels due to aortic aneurysm.
- High blood pressure due to constriction of blood vessels that carry blood to the kidneys (renal arteries).
- Pneumonia, interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, and alveolar damage if this disease attacks the pulmonary arteries.
- Inflammation of the heart which then affects the heart muscle (myocarditis) and heart valves.
- Heart failure due to high blood pressure, myocarditis, or aortic valve regurgitation.
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mild stroke.
- Stroke due to decreased blood flow or blockage of blood flow from the heart to the part of the brain.
- Heart attack.
In addition, Takayasu arteritis is also often associated with various other diseases, such as glomerulonephritis, systemic lupus, polymyositis, polymyalgia rheumatica, rheumatoid arthritis, Still disease, and ankylosing spondylitis.
Takayasu arteritis is a chronic vascular disease and is likely to recur after treatment, so long-term treatment is needed. When you feel difficulty breathing, chest pain, or signs of a stroke, you are advised to see the doctor in question. Early detection is one of the keys to the treatment of this disease. Furthermore, if you have been affected by this disease and have been declared cured, you also have to keep checking regularly with the doctor concerned to avoid getting this disease again.
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