Arteritis involves inflammation of the arteries that impairs the blood vessel walls and diminishes the blood flow to the organs. There are various forms of arteries and the symptoms and complications that might arise depends on the arteries affected and severity of damage.
Types of arteritis
Each type of arteritis has distinct symptoms and potential complications which depends on the arteries affected.
- Takeyasu’s arteritis – there is inflammation of the walls of the aorta including the upper branches which results to scarring. The progressive constriction of the upper and lower branches of the aorta results to inadequate blood and oxygen supply to the entire body.
- Giant cell arteritis – this is an infection affecting the superficial temporal artery and other arteries that supply blood to the eyes, head and jaw. This condition is usually seen among women over 50 years of age.
- Polyarteritis nodosa – this involves inflammation of the medium and smaller arteries that transport blood from the heart to the organs and tissues. The symptoms tend to vary depending on the blood vessels affected.
What are the possible causes?
It is still unknown what precisely causes arteritis. In the previous years, it is believed to be an autoimmune ailment where the immune cells attack the walls of the main blood vessels, resulting to varying degrees of impairment.
The immune bodies within the blood vessels from nodules known as granulomas that obstruct the blood flow to other parts of the body. The interior cells of the blood vessels might weaken which makes them prone to aneurysms that can rupture and result to internal bleeding.
The treatment for arteritis is aimed on suppressing the immune reaction. This is done with the help of corticosteroids that are prescribed by the doctor or other medications that suppress the immune system.
Secondary infections that might arise are controlled using antibiotics. If the organs are damaged, surgery might be required to restore them to their healthier state.
Many can recover from arteritis. Nevertheless, it is likely that the treatment might last for a year or two. If organ damage occurred, it can affect overall treatment and expected outcome. Those who had the condition in the past are at higher risk for experiencing it again.