Temporal arteritis is an inflammatory condition which affects the arteries of the head. This condition occurs due to chronic inflammation of the arteries. Both small and medium sized arteries are affected. The main function of these arteries is to carry the oxygenated blood to the head region. This condition is also referred to as cranial arteritis or giant cell arteritis which seems to occur more frequently in women. Also this condition is commonly seen to occur in people more than 50 years of age.
A wide variety of symptoms can be seen with temporal arteritis. This condition is also believed to be an autoimmune disorder. This condition occurs when the body immune system starts acting against its own cells or in a way attacks the normal body cells which are healthy.
It commonly affects the temporal artery which runs near the temple and the eye area. However temporal arteritis can affect any artery of the body.
Temporal arteritis is not a common condition to occur. It is seen very rarely. This condition can affect the face and the head, eyes and the body generally.
This condition is curable. If temporal arteritis is not treated in time it can lead to severe complications. When the condition is left untreated it may cause complications like stroke or blindness.
Symptoms of temporal arteritis:
-cough and fever
-jaw pain on chewing
-fatigue and excessive sweating
-loss of appetite with weight loss
-pain or sensitivity in the scalp area
-pain in the tongue and the throat area
-unilateral throbbing headache
Immediate medical help should be called for if the patient shows the following symptoms:
-sudden loss of consciousness or sudden passing out
-slurred speech or inability to speak
-sudden behavior change such as lethargy, hallucination, confusion
Causes and risk factors:
Temporal arteritis is a condition which is said to be autoimmune in nature. Certain individuals are more prone for this condition. Temporal arteritis is seen to occur more frequently in:
-In individuals who have a family history of this condition
-in individuals more than 50 years of age
-women are more frequently affected
-individuals suffering from polymyalgia rheumatica
Temporal arteritis should be treated as soon as it is diagnosed as this condition can be life threatening once it becomes severe. When this condition is diagnosed at an early stage, relief can be obtained and major complications like blindness and stroke may be prevented.
This condition can be treated with systemic steroids. Steroids when treated orally are generally effective. Treatment with glucocorticoids is preferred. The drug of choice for the treatment of temporal arteritis is prednisone. This drug is mainly used to control the inflammation and the allergic reactions, as temporal arteritis is an autoimmune disorder.
Generally no hospital care is needed for a person who suffers from temporal arteritis, but this depends on the severity of the condition. The doctor generally prescribes adequate amount of corticosteroids which improves the condition of the patient within 1-3 days. Depending on the patients response the corticosteroid therapy may last for about a year or two.
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