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Temporal arteritis

Temporal arteritis: Introduction

Temporal arteritis is a serious disorder that causes chronic inflammation of the large and medium arteries of the head, which supplies vital oxygenated blood to portions of the head and brain. Temporal arteritis often affects the temporal arteries, which run over the temple areas next to the eye. Inflammation of these arteries results in an inability to adequately supply oxygen and nutrients to the brain and head areas. Temporal arteritis can lead to serious complications, such as blindness and stroke, especially if it is not diagnosed and treated promptly.

Temporal arteritis is also called giant cell arteritis and cranial arteritis. Temporal arteritis is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. In an autoimmune disorder the body's immune system sees normal cells and tissues of the body as potentially dangerous invaders and attacks them, causing inflammation. It is not known what causes this to happen in many cases of temporal arteritis. However, the aging process probably plays a role in its development, and most people with the disorder are over 50 years of age. Temporal arteritis is far more common in women than in men.

Temporal arteritis is a relatively uncommon disorder, but it is the most common cause of vasculitis. Temporal arteritis results in a wide variety of neurological symptoms that can affect the eyes, vision, head, face, and the body in general. Temporal arteritis is treatable, but if left untreated can result in serious complications. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of temporal arteritis.

Making a diagnosis of temporal arteritis begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination, including an eye exam. Blood tests include a complete blood test (CBC) and an erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), which can detect if an inflammatory process is occurring in the body.

An eye examination can include a variety of tests, such as a visual acuity test to check the sharpness of vision. A visual acuity test involves reading an eye chart located at a specific distance across the room. A visual field test checks sight on the peripheral (side) areas of vision. Special eye drops may also be used to enlarge the pupil of the eye so that the physician can look directly into the eyes with an instrument called an ophthalmoscope and evaluate the health of the retina and optic nerve. Special dyes might be used in the eyes to reveal dry spots and damage to the cornea (corneal abrasion or corneal ulcer).

A temporal artery biopsy is the definitive diagnostic test performed for suspected temporal arteritis. A temporal artery biopsy involves taking a small sample of the temporal artery and examining it under a microscope for inflammatory changes that indicate temporal arteritis.

Other tests are performed to evaluate general health and help to determine damage to the brain and complications that may be caused by suspected temporal arteritis. For example, imaging tests, such as CT scan and MRI, can detect damage that has occurred in the brain due to temporal arteritis.

It is possible that a diagnosis of temporal arteritis can be missed or delayed because symptoms can be vague and similar to symptoms of other disorders, diseases and conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis and disorders that can mimic temporal arteritis, refer to misdiagnosis of temporal arteritis.

Temporal arteritis is controllable, even curable with medications. Treatment can reduces the risk of developing serious complications, such as blindness and stroke. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of temporal arteritis. ...more »

Temporal arteritis: Temporal arteritis (also called cranial or giant cell arteritis) is an inflammation of the temporal artery (which runs over the temple, beside the eye). (Source: excerpt from NINDS Vasculitis including Temporal Arteritis Information Page: NINDS) ... more about Temporal arteritis.

Temporal arteritis: Inflamed head artery causing headache. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Temporal arteritis is available below.

Temporal arteritis: Symptoms

The types of symptoms of temporal arteritis vary between individuals. Manifestations generally affect the nervous system but can also affect other areas of the body. Temporal arteritis is treatable, but if left untreated, complications can be serious, even life-threatening.

The most common symptoms of temporal arteritis include headache, jaw pain with after chewing, ...more symptoms »

Temporal arteritis: Treatments

Temporal arteritis is very treatable and even curable in many cases. Treatment can reduce and eliminate symptoms and minimize the develoment of serious complications, such as stroke and permanent blindness. However, once complications have developed, they are generally permanent. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical to preventing serious complications.

Treatment generally ...more treatments »

Temporal arteritis: Misdiagnosis

Pinpointing a diagnosis of temporal arteritis can be difficult because symptoms can be vague and widespread and vary between different cases. In addition, a diagnosis of temporal arteritis may be delayed or missed because symptoms are similar to symptoms of other underlying causes of vasculitis, such as temporal arteritis, Behcet's syndrome, Wegener's ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Temporal arteritis

Treatments for Temporal arteritis

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Temporal arteritis?

Temporal arteritis: Related Patient Stories

Diagnostic Tests for Temporal arteritis

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Temporal arteritis: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Temporal arteritis:

Causes of Temporal arteritis

Read more about causes of Temporal arteritis.

Disease Topics Related To Temporal arteritis

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Temporal arteritis:

Less Common Symptoms of Temporal arteritis

Temporal arteritis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Temporal arteritis

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Temporal arteritis: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Temporal arteritis

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Temporal arteritis:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Temporal arteritis, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Temporal arteritis: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Temporal arteritis

Medical research articles related to Temporal arteritis include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Temporal arteritis: Animations

Prognosis for Temporal arteritis

Prognosis for Temporal arteritis: The prognosis for individuals with temporal arteritis is generally good. With treatment, most individuals achieve complete remission, however vision loss may be irreversible. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Vasculitis including Temporal Arteritis Information Page: NINDS) ... Most people with polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis lead productive, active lives. The duration of drug treatment differs by patient. Once treatment is discontinued, polymyalgia may recur; but once again, symptoms respond rapidly to prednisone. When properly treated, giant cell arteritis rarely recurs. (Source: excerpt from Questions and Answers About Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis: NIAMS)

Research about Temporal arteritis

Visit our research pages for current research about Temporal arteritis treatments.

Clinical Trials for Temporal arteritis

The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Temporal arteritis include:

Statistics for Temporal arteritis

Temporal arteritis: Broader Related Topics

Temporal arteritis Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Temporal arteritis, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Temporal arteritis

NINDS Vasculitis including Temporal Arteritis Information Page: NINDS (Excerpt)

Temporal arteritis (also called cranial or giant cell arteritis) is an inflammation of the temporal artery (which runs over the temple, beside the eye). (Source: excerpt from NINDS Vasculitis including Temporal Arteritis Information Page: NINDS)

Questions and Answers About Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis: NIAMS (Excerpt)

Giant cell arteritis, also known as temporal arteritis and cranial arteritis, is a disorder that results in swelling of arteries in the head (most often the temporal arteries, which are located on the temples on each side of the head), neck, and arms. This swelling causes the arteries to narrow, reducing blood flow. Early treatment is critical for good prognosis. (Source: excerpt from Questions and Answers About Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis: NIAMS)

Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS (Excerpt)

Arteritis, an inflammation of certain arteries in the head, primarily affects people over age 50. Symptoms include throbbing headache, fever, and loss of appetite. Some patients experience blurring or loss of vision. Prompt treatment with corticosteroid drugs helps to relieve symptoms. (Source: excerpt from Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS)

Aging and Your Eyes -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA (Excerpt)

Temporal arteritis causes the arteries in the temple area of the forehead to become swollen. It can begin with a severe headache, pain when chewing, and tenderness in the temple area. It may be followed in a few weeks by sudden vision loss. Other symptoms can include shaking, weight loss, and low-grade fever. Scientists donít know the cause of temporal arteritis, but they think it may be a disorder of the immune system. Early treatment with medication can help prevent vision loss in one or both eyes. (Source: excerpt from Aging and Your Eyes -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

Definitions of Temporal arteritis:

Subacute, granulomatous arteritis involving the external carotid arteries, especially the temporal artery; occurs in elderly persons and may be manifested by constitutional symptoms, particularly severe headache, and sometimes sudden unilateral blindness; shares many of the symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica. - (Source - Diseases Database)

Inflammation of the temporal arteries; characterized by headaches and difficulty chewing and (sometimes) visual impairment - (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Temporal arteritis is listed as a "rare disease" by the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This means that Temporal arteritis, or a subtype of Temporal arteritis, affects less than 200,000 people in the US population.
Source - National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Ophanet, a consortium of European partners, currently defines a condition rare when it affects 1 person per 2,000. They list Temporal arteritis as a "rare disease".
Source - Orphanet

 

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