Clinical Pearl of the Day: Giant Cell Arteritis
Giant cell arteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the arteries.
- Most often, giant cell arteritis affects the arteries in the head, especially those in the temples. For this reason, giant cell arteritis is sometimes called temporal arteritis.
- Giant cell arteritis frequently causes headaches, scalp tenderness, jaw pain, and vision problems. Untreated, it can lead to blindness.
- Symptoms include persistent head pain, scalp tenderness, jaw pain, fever, fatigue, unintended weight loss, vision loss, and sudden permanent loss of vision.
- Risk factors include age, sex, race or geographic region, polymyalgia rheumatica, and family history.
- Diagnosis may include erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and C-reactive protein.
- Prompt treatment with corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, usually relieves symptoms of giant cell arteritis and might prevent loss of vision.
- But even with treatment, relapses are common.