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Temporal arteritis

  • Alternative Names

    Arteritis - temporal; Cranial arteritis; Giant cell arteritis

    • Excessive sweating
    • Fever
    • General ill feeling
    • Jaw pain that comes and goes or occurs when chewing
    • Loss of appetite
    • Muscle aches
    • Pain and stiffness in the neck, upper arms, shoulder, and hips
    • Throbbing headache on one side of the head or the back of the head
    • Scalp sensitivity, tenderness when touching the scalp
    • Vision difficulties
      • Blurred vision
      • Double vision
      • Reduced vision (blindness in one or both eyes)
    • Weakness, excessive tiredness
    • Weight loss (more than 5% of total body weight)

    Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:

    • Bleeding gums
    • Face pain
    • Hearing loss
    • Joint stiffness
    • Joint pain
    • Mouth sores

    About 40% of people will have other, nonspecific symptoms such as respiratory complaints (most frequently dry cough) or weakness or pain along many nerve areas. Rarely, paralysis of eye muscles may occur. A persistent fever may be the only symptom.

    Signs and tests

    The doctor will examine your head. Touching the head may show that the scalp is sensitive and has a tender, thick artery on one side. The affected artery may have a weak pulse or no pulse.

    Blood tests may include:

    • Hemoglobin or hematocrit
    • Liver function tests
    • Sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein

    Blood tests cannot diagnose this condition. A biopsy and examination of tissue from the affected artery confirm the diagnosis in most cases. The biopsy is done on an outpatient basis while you are under local anesthesia.

    You may also have other tests, including:

    • Duplex ultrasound
    • MRI
    • PET scan