Takayasu arteritis is an autoimmune disorder that resembles temporal arteritis (a.k.a. giant cell arteritis) under the microscope but affects young adults, usually 15 to 20 years of age and has a striking female preponderance of 9:1 (while temporal arteritis typically strikes people over 50 and does not have such a strong predilection for women).
Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body’s immune system, which is meant to defend the body against bacteria, viruses, and any other foreign product, malfunctions and produces antibodies against healthy tissue, cells and organs.
Takayasu arteritis is rare, having an estimated incidence in the United States of 2.6 cases per million compared with 16 cases per million for temporal arteritis. The incidence in the Orient, particularly Japan, is much higher. There is thought to be a genetic component to the causation of this disease. Infection with mycobacteria and streptococci have been suggested to initiate the disease.
Symptoms include fever, a throbbing headache on one side of the head or the back of the head, scalp sensitivity, jaw pain, visual difficulties (blurred vision, double vision, reduced vision, blindness in one or both eyes), weakness, excessive tiredness, generally feeling ill, loss of appetite and body weight, muscular aches, mouth sores, joint stiffness and pain, hearing loss, bleeding gums, and facial pain.
Conventional treatment involves the use of Prednisone and other corticosteroids. Often patients are unable to tolerate the toxic side effects of these drugs.
The alternative, nutritional medicine approach is to identify hidden allergies by blood test and avoid those allergens (primarily foods). Also enzyme potentiated desensitization holds hope for putting the disease in long term remission.