You Made the Diagnosis -- Takayasu's Arteritis!

Jason Booros was about to embark on a welcomed new chapter in his life.

He had just graduated from high school and was taking a much-deserved trip to the Florida Keys with some friends before starting his freshman year at a community college.

"Life was good," his dad, John, said.

A month into Jason's freshman year, though, his life took a strange turn. Jason, a star athlete who weighed 190 pounds, started dropping weight, fast. The first clue that something wasn't quite right? An unexpected meal from a caring neighbor.

"I came home and there was a dish in the refrigerator," John said. "I asked my youngest son where the casserole came from, and he said that the neighbor didn't feel like [we] were eating properly."


Watch the story on "Primetime: Medical Mysteries" Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET and go to during the show to make your own diagnosis!

Jason says his friends made comments as well. "I had friends tell me I've lost a lot of weight," he said. "I told them I wasn't trying. … I'm just doing what I've always done."

Jason wasn't that concerned, saying that, "I had too much going on in my life. I was going to college during the daytime and going out with my friends at night."

It wasn't long, though, before Jason wasn't doing much of anything.

'I Was Always Tired'

Another neighbor was the first to notice that something else was wrong, besides Jason's weight loss.

"A neighbor called me and said, 'I thought Jason was going to the community college during the day?' And I said, 'He is,'" Jason's dad said.

The neighbor said they hadn't seen Jason's car leave the driveway in weeks. John dismissed the concern. He figured his son was simply riding to school with friends. But Jason wasn't going to college at all. He was spending his days in bed, sleeping until 4 p.m.

"I was always tired," Jason said. "I would wake up two or three times a night to change the sheets because of night sweats."

When Jason was awake, he experienced other bizarre symptoms, like constant dizziness.

"I would carry laundry downstairs to the basement and I'd hit the first step and get dizzy and the next thing I know, I'm at the bottom of the stairs," Jason said. "I remember walking into walls, just for no reason. I mean, it happened on a regular basis."

'He Looked Really Bad'

Two or three weeks went by, and then the Booroses' neighbor called on the family, again. This time, she'd been watching Jason wash his car and noticed something quite alarming.

"She said, 'Is Jason wearing makeup? He looks like he's wearing makeup,'" John said. Concerned at this point, John called his son inside.

John, a busy single parent raising two teenage boys, worked during the day and didn't get the opportunity to spend a lot of time with his sons during the week. The boys and their father lived on opposite schedules. When John finally saw his son up close that day, he was shocked by what he saw.

"He was as pasty white as I had ever seen him and he'd lost a lot of weight. He looked really bad," John said.

Jason had dropped close to 40 pounds, in a matter of weeks. His dad knew something was terribly wrong. "I think it was probably the next morning that Jason and I were on our way to the family doctor," John said.

Jason remembers that first trip to the doctor well.

"The doctor told me, 'You've lost weight. You're always tired. You have a low-grade fever. You're getting dizzy. You're having night sweats. [There's] something wrong, and we need to figure out what that is,'" Jason said.

The family physician ordered several blood tests. The first was a big one: He wanted to test Jason for HIV.

For the first time since his medical ordeal had begun, Jason began to really worry.

"Anytime you're 19 years old and that word gets thrown out as you, it kind of makes you think and get a little scared," he said.

"Primetime" gave you the chance to be the doctor. What did you think Jason is suffering from?

A. Depression

B. Infection (such as HIV)

C. Cancer

D. Circulatory Disease

The Real Diagnosis

Jason's HIV test came back negative, and doctors conducted a bone marrow biopsy because his blood count was low.

Those results were inconclusive, and Jason continued to lose weight. Ultimately his father took him to the emergency room, where he was treated by Dr. John Flynn, clinical director of internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

"I was very impressed with the severity of his symptoms," Flynn said. "How tired he was. … He lost 40 pounds."

After considering a number of other tests, doctors ultimately performed an arteriogram to see "the caliber of the blood vessel, specifically looking for any narrowings," Flynn said.

This test finally solved the mystery.

"I was awake during the whole procedure," Jason said, "and the next thing I remember is Dr. Flynn [saying,] 'Yep, it's Takayasu's Arteritis.'"

Flynn explained, "Takayasu's Arteritis is the name given to this inflammatory process … affecting the blood vessels … which is very rare … and especially rare in men."

Doctors gave Jason the steroid prednisone by IV, and he "felt better pretty quick."

Jason's anemia resolved within weeks, and he began to gain weight. Jason still requires medicine, but says that "I live life day to day. … It's pretty much a normal life. It's wonderful."

So if you chose option D. Circulatory Disease, you were right. Jason was suffering from the circulatory disease called TAKAYASU'S ARTERITIS.