What Is Temporal Arteritis?

One type of vasculitis that is more common is temporal arteritis, also referred to as giant cell arteritis. This vascular condition impacts the blood vessels in the temporal area, causing inflammation and restriction that can limit blood flow and oxygen to the eyes, scalp and brain. Temporal arteritis can have serious, even deadly impacts on the health, including causing blindness, aneurysms and strokes. Here are some of the risk factors and symptoms to familiarize yourself with this disease.

Risk Factors of Temporal Arteritis

Temporal arteritis is one of the more well-known vascular conditions, but it is still not overly common. About five people in 10,000 have this condition, with the highest percentage females over fifty years of age. Those of northern European descent are also at higher risk. The exact cause of this condition is not completely understood, but certain lifestyle factors can impact effective treatment including smoking and heavy alcohol consumption

Symptoms of Giant Cell Arteritis

Since the consequences of temporal arteritis can be severe, it is important to recognize the symptoms of the disease. Those with condition may experience:

  • Jaw, neck, shoulder or scalp pain
  • Fever
  • Throbbing in neck or back of the head
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Blurry or impaired vision
  • Stiffness in the shoulders, hips or upper arms

If anyone is experiencing a combination of these symptoms, especially those with higher risk factors, they should be tested. For a concrete diagnosis, blood tests, MRI and a biopsy may be needed.

There are treatment options available to reduce inflammation and risks from temporal arteritis. Those with this condition should seek advice and treatment from a vascular specialist for the best results.

Posted on behalf of:
Alan Benvenisty, MD
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