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Stage 1 symptoms

Takayasu's arteritis symptoms often occur in two stages. In the first stage, you're likely to feel unwell with:

  • Fatigue
  • Fast and unintentional weight loss
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Slight fever

Not everyone has these early symptoms, however. It's possible for inflammation to damage arteries for years before you realize something is wrong.

Stage 2 symptoms

Second-stage symptoms begin to develop when inflammation has caused arteries to narrow. At this point, there's less blood, oxygen and nutrients reaching your organs and tissues. These signs and symptoms may include:

  • Arm or leg weakness or pain with use (claudication)
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble thinking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Visual problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Difference in blood pressure between your arms
  • A difficult-to-find or absent pulse in the wrists — Takayasu's arteritis is sometimes called pulseless disease because narrowed arteries can make normal pulses difficult or impossible to detect
  • Too few red blood cells (anemia)
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain

When to see a doctor

If you have symptoms that might suggest Takayasu's arteritis, see your doctor. Many signs and symptoms of Takayasu's arteritis are similar to those of other conditions, which can make diagnosis challenging. Still, early detection of the disease is important for getting the most benefit from treatment and preventing complications.

If you've already been diagnosed with Takayasu's arteritis, keep in mind that the symptoms of a disease flare (recurrence) are often similar to those that occurred originally. Also pay attention to any new signs or symptoms. These may indicate either a disease flare or a complication of treatment.

Mar. 13, 2013