Oxygen-rich blood flows out of the heart through the aorta, which then subdivides into smaller arteries that carry blood to all parts of the body. Arteritis causes arteries to become inflamed and swollen, which can decrease blood flow. Body tissues that receive too little blood and the oxygen it carries can become damaged.
The different types of arteritis are classified by the organ systems (from the heart to the nervous system) that they affect. Doctors don't know the exact cause of arteritis, but it may be the result of a faulty immune system response that targets the body's own tissues. Sometimes it's associated with autoimmune disorders or an infection.
Arteritis can cause various symptoms, some of which are common with other conditions, so it can be difficult to diagnose. Treatment usually involves steroid medications or drugs that suppress the immune system. Early treatment can help prevent tissue damage, so doctors often start treatment before arteritis is officially diagnosed.
Many people with arteritis improve with treatment and go on to make a full recovery.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) The NHLBI provides the public with educational resources relating to the treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases as well as sleep disorders.|
|American Heart Association This group is dedicated to providing education and information on fighting heart disease and stroke. Contact the American Heart Association at: American Heart Association|
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|National Institutes of Health (NIH) NIH is an Agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and offers health information and scientific resources.|
|Heart and Circulatory System The heart and circulatory system are our body's lifeline, delivering blood to the body's tissues. Brush up on your ticker with this body basics article.|
|A to Z: Polyarteritis Nodosa Learn about polyarteritis nodosa (PAN), a rare disease causing inflammation of the blood vessels.|
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