Temporal arteritis

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1. Overview

Temporal arteritis is a serious condition especially common in people who were treated with high doses of antibiotics or suffered serious infections.

Arteritis develops in patients suffering from polymyalgia rheumatica. Polymyalgia is a condition that causes severe acute pain in the shoulders, hips, especially for the elderly.

Not many details are known about the causes of this disease. Most people diagnosed with this condition are over 50 years old. Some researchers have tried to show that this disease is genetic, but were unable to get solid answers in this regard.

This condition is also known as giant cell arteritis. Its main symptoms are drowsiness, malaise and weakness.

Prompt treatment may improve manifestations immediately and will contribute to improving health and normalizing the patient’s life. Lack of treatment will result in serious complications and aggravation of the disease.


1. Overview
2. Symptoms of temporal arteritis
3. Causes of temporal arteritis
4. Treatment and prevention of temporal arteritis

2. Symptoms of temporal arteritis

There are some serious symptoms associated with temporal arteritis. It is possible that many people do not notice that they have a serious problem because some symptoms are vague and relatively minor and are often forgotten or ignored.

Excessive sweating, fever and general feeling of discomfort are common manifestations of the disease. These are usually caused by lack of blood flow to the brain and other important parts of the body. Jaw pain and loss of appetite are common and are usually caused by decreased blood flow.

Other symptoms may be muscle pain, severe headache, scalp tenderness and even blindness. When visual disturbances occur, they can be treated by LASIK surgery.

In some rare cases, the patient may be permanently blind without any solution to remedy the problem. Extreme lethargy and sudden weight loss are other signs of the condition. When you lose more than 5% of total body weight, without specifically to try to lose weight, the reason could be a serious problem.

These symptoms may occur in the various medical conditions’ cases, so it is very important to note and observe abnormal or different manifestations, to communicate your doctor.

There are several vague events that may accompany temporal arteritis: bleeding gums or mouth, appearance of facial injuries, unexplainable stiffness and joint pain etc.. These symptoms are uncommon and are usually also the sign of other diseases.

This is why you must call your doctor when something is unusual, for it to find out if there are other conditions that underlie these symptoms.

3. Causes of temporal arteritis

Arteries in the body are important because they deliver blood and nutrients to the brain and to the body limbs. When these arteries are inflamed or damaged, complications arise. Doctors could not discover what determines this inflammation, but they guess that it could be the result of genetics or diets.

If a person has more than 50 years, has a high risk of developing temporal arteritis. Whatever the reason, women are more prone to this disease, and Europeans are likely to develop giant cell arteritis. When a person suspects that could have temporal arteritis should consider together with his doctor the possible treatment options.

4. Treatment and prevention of temporal arteritis

Temporal arteritis is treatable and blindness can be avoided. Current treatment of eye injuries can stop and eventually the rest of the symptoms will be kept under control.

The drug usually used is prednisone, a corticosteroid that suppresses the immune system activity. It helps to treat headaches, eye and heart problems associated with temporal arteritis. It is recommend to take a high dose over a period of 2-3 weeks to keep control of inflammation in the arteries. After a month or two, the inflammation will shrink.

Long-term use of corticosteroids increases the risk of infection and determines other side effects. Usually, it is recommended to choose corticosteroids that will produce the best results. For some patients it may be necessary to administer small doses of drugs for a year or two for the symptoms do not return.

In others, the doctor may recommend the use of prednisone 5 to 10 years or even indefinitely. Arteritis rarely recurs after treatment is stopped.

The use of corticosteroids is associated with the following side effects when treating temporal arteritis:
- Diabetes
- Slight bruising
- Fluid retention and weight gain
- Glaucoma
- High blood pressure
- Osteoporosis
- Rounded facial features
- Slow healing of wounds
- Stomach irritation.

Prednisone is used to treat polymyalgia rheumatica, relieving the symptoms within a day or two after the first dose. Alternatively, if prednisone if not tolerated, it can be used an immunosuppressive drug such as azathioprine or methotrexate.

Your doctor may prescribe a low dose of aspirin because the risk of blindness or stroke decreases. There is no simple way to prevent arteritis although several studies have demonstrated the link between diseases affecting blood vessels, vision and diets high in animal fat, salt and sugar. Smoking is equally harmful.

Although 1 in 5 people with the disease could blind without treatment, a simple visit to the doctor can prevent eye damage. However, it is recommended that anyone over 50 years to be evaluated by a doctor every 5 years and each year if the person suffers from diabetes.



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