Temporal Arteritis

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. Two other terms often associated with this condition include:

  • Causes

    The cause of temporal arteritis is not known. It may result from an
    autoimmune response in the body.
    An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the immune system mistakes the body’s own tissue for a foreign invader, attacking and damaging it.

  • Definition

    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.

    Two other terms often associated with this condition include:

    • Giant cell arteritis (GCA)
    • Vasculitis
    Temporal Arteritis
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  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Tests may include:

    • Blood tests
    • Biopsy—removal of a sample of the temporal artery
    • Retinal exam
    • Ultrasound of the temporal artery

  • Prevention

    There are no current guidelines to prevent temporal arteritis.

  • Risk Factors

    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

  • Symptoms

    Temporal arteritis may cause:

    • Scalp pain or tenderness over the temporal artery
    • Headaches

    • Fever or
      flu-like symptoms
    • Pain when chewing
    • Pain in the jaw or tongue
    • Fatigue
    • Loss of appetite and weight loss
    • Vision


      changes
    • Sweats
    • Aches in the joints or muscles

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include: