Temporal arteritis

Temporal arteritis is a medical condition in which a vascular disorder involves inflammation of the large blood vessels throughout the body. The cause of temporal arteritis is unknown. Some scientists think it may be due to an autoimmune reaction which somehow damages arteries, which results in the blood supply blockage to the central parts of the body, especially the neck and head.

If this disease is not diagnosed promptly and isn’t treated, temporal arteritis may lead to irreversible blindness in one or both eyes. Almost 50% of the people with temporal arteritis have polymyalgia rheumatica, a connective tissue disorder in which shoulder, neck, hip, lower back and thigh muscles become painful and stiff. Temporal arteritis is most likely to occur in women than in men, with 65 being the average age of onset.

Sometimes it may appear in people of age 50 and seldom in African Americans at any age. The symptoms of temporal arteritis are severe headaches, frequently in the temples. In some cases the pain starts after exposure to cold or when hair is brushed or the head rests are on a pillow. Such symptoms like blurred vision, tender scalp, and jaw pain may lead to irreversible blindness

Temporal arteritis is evaluated by a clinician with blood tests, a biopsy of the temporal artery, an MRI or Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MGA).  This disease is usually treated with high doses of antiflammatory drug from corticosteroid group such as Prednisone. Prednisone may be taken in a form of a tablet. Usually, treatment starts with a big dose and gradually reduces as symptoms begin to improve. After about 2 years of using Prednisone, the drug may be discontinued completely and the symptoms may be relieved by taking nonsteroidal antiflammatory medicines, such as Aspirin. There is no total cure for temporal arteritis.

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