Takayasu's arteritis (tah-kah-YAH-sooz ahr-tuh-RIE-tis) is a rare type of vasculitis, a group of disorders that cause blood vessel inflammation. In Takayasu's arteritis, the inflammation primarily damages the aorta — the large artery that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body — and the aorta's main branches.

The disease can lead to blockages or narrowed arteries (stenosis) or abnormally dilated arteries (aneurysms). Takayasu's arteritis can also lead to arm or chest pain and high blood pressure and eventually to heart failure or stroke.

The goal of treatment is to relieve inflammation in the arteries and prevent potential complications. Even with early detection and treatment, however, Takayasu's arteritis can be challenging to manage.

Mar. 13, 2013