Temporal arteritis is inflammation of the arteries. It affects the arteries in the head, neck, and upper body. The temporal artery is most often affected. It runs over the temple, to the outside of the eye. In extreme or untreated cases, this condition can lead to blindness or strokes.
2 other terms often associated with this condition include:
- Giant cell arteritis (GCA)
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Temporal arteritis is more common in women, and in people aged 50 years and older. It is also more common among Caucasians, especially those of Scandinavian or northern European descent. Other factors may increase your chance of getting temporal arteritis include:
- Family history
- Polymyalgia rheumatica—a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in muscles of the neck, shoulders, lower back, hips, and thighs
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. A retinal exam may also be done.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
- Blood tests
- Biopsy—removal of a sample of the temporal artery
Images may be taken of the temporal artery. This can be done with ultrasound.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
Corticosteroid therapy is used to decrease the swelling and inflammation. It will also help decrease the risk of blindness. At first, high doses are often given. The doses are then tapered off. Therapy is often continued for several years.
Long-term use of corticosteroids has some harmful side effects. These may include:
- Increased risk of infections
- Stomach irritation
Supplements will help to stop these effects on the bone. The supplements may include:
- Vitamin D
You may be advised take low-dose aspirin every day. This may help to reduce the risk of vision loss associated with temporal arteritis.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Giant Cell Arteritis)
Arthritis Foundation http://www.arthritis.org
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology http://www.entcanada.org
Giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/giant-cell-arteritis-and-polymyalgia-rheumatica.html. Updated March 2014. Accessed June 13, 2016.
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