Temporal arteritis

Temporal arteritis is defined as inflammation and constriction of the temporal arteries which supplies blood from the heart to the lungs. It can also affect other blood vessels such as the posterior ciliary arteries or even the aorta as well as its branches.

If not detected and promptly treated, temporal arteritis might also lead to the following:

  • Impaired eyesight including abrupt blindness in one or two eyes
  • Impairment to the blood vessels especially an aneurysm
  • Other conditions such as transient ischemic attack or stroke

What are the signs?

The usual indication of temporal arteritis is a sore, incessant headache on one or both sides of the forehead.

The other indications might include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Jaw pain that worsens after chewing
    Temporal arteritis

    The usual indication of temporal arteritis is a sore, incessant headache on one or both sides of the forehead.

  • Tenderness of the temples or scalp
  • Appetite loss or weight loss
  • Visual issues such as blurred vision, double vision or brief vision loss. If not properly treated, it can lead to lasting, irreversible vision loss.

Some of these signs can be linked to other health conditions including polymyalgia rheumatica. The condition is often linked with temporal arteritis or vasculitis which involves the aorta and the large vessels.

Management

Even though there is no available cure for temporal arteritis, it can be treated with drugs. The treatment must be started right away to prevent further impairment due to the poor blood flow.

Those over 50 years of age with the following symptoms must consult a doctor right away:

  • Start of new headache
  • Jaw pain during or after chewing on food or after talking
  • Abrupt and brief loss of vision

The condition is typically managed with corticosteroids taken orally including prednisone. These drugs must be taken for up to 2 years or even longer where the dose is steadily reduced.

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