What Are the Symptoms of Giant Cell Arteritis, or Temporal Arteritis?


Quick Answer

Headache, jaw pain after chewing, blurred vision, fever, and shoulder and hip pain are the most common giant cell arteritis symptoms. Others include cough, tongue pain, throat pain, arm pain during exercise, tender scalp, depression, weight loss and stroke. Blindness can also develop, says The Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center.

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What Are the Symptoms of Giant Cell Arteritis, or Temporal Arteritis?
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Some giant cell arteritis patients experience throbbing headaches at the back or on one side of their heads. Other patients suffer from excessive sweating, decreased appetite, weakness or tiredness, general ill feeling, muscle aches, or pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, upper arms and hips. Double or reduced vision in one or both eyes may also occur, as well as bleeding gums, hearing loss and pain in the face, reports MedlinePlus.

Giant cell arteritis, also known as temporal arteritis, is the most common type of vasculitis to occur in adults and is relatively uncommon. Nearly all patients with the disease are older than 50, with the average age of onset being 72. Women are diagnosed more often than men, as are people of Scandinavian descent compared to other racial groups, states The Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center.

Diagnosing giant cell arteritis is difficult because of the many symptoms that can occur. The cause of the disease is unknown, but it is known that the immune system attacks the arteries, causing inflammation. Patients are often treated with the corticosteroid prednisone, which improves most symptoms in one to three days, according to The Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center.

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