What is temporal arteritis?

Temporal arteritis is a serious disorder that causes chronic inflammation of the large and medium arteries of the head, which supply oxygenated blood to portions of the head and brain. This inflammatory disease results in an inadequate supply of oxygen and nutrients in the brain and head areas.

Temporal arteritis is believed to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks normal healthy cells and tissues, causing inflammation. Temporal arteritis often affects the temporal arteries, which run over the temple areas next to the eye, but can also affect other arteries throughout the body. Temporal arteritis can cause a wide variety of symptoms that may affect the eyes, head, face and body in general.

Temporal arteritis is a relatively uncommon disorder, but it is the most frequent cause of vasculitis (an inflammation of the blood vessels). Temporal arteritis is also called giant cell arteritis and cranial arteritis. Temporal arteritis is more common in people older than age 50, and it affects women more often than men.

Temporal arteritis is treatable, but left untreated it can lead to serious complications including blindness and stroke. Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms of temporal arteritis, such as headache, jaw pain, or changes in vision.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of temporal arteritis?

Symptoms of temporal arteritis can affect many areas of the body. Symptoms of temporal arteritis can include:

CAUSES

What causes temporal arteritis?

Temporal arteritis is believed to be an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks normal cells of the large and medium arteries in the head. In temporal arteritis, inflammation caused by this attack affects the flow of blood through the arteries and the ability to adequately supply oxygen and nutrients to the brain and head areas. Temporal arteritis can also affect other... Read more about temporal arteritiscauses

TREATMENTS

How is temporal arteritis treated?

Temporal arteritis is very treatable and even curable in many cases. Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce and eliminate symptoms and is critical in preventing serious complications, such as stroke and blindness. Long-term treatment may be necessary.

Treatment of temporal arteritis generally includes high doses of a corticosteroid medication called prednisone, which suppresses ... Read more about temporal arteritistreatments

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 11, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves