Pain at the temples due to arteritis temporalis. Arteritis temporalis also called giant cell arteritis, is a chronic inflammation of the great arteries, which can become blocked as a result. This condition occurs in people over the age of fifty. On average, the condition affects one in a thousand people.
Symptoms of the arteritis temporalis
The complaints and symptoms in arteritis temporalis can differ per person. The complaints mainly depend on which arteries in the body are inflamed. The arteries in the head are often affected and the patient has a headache. This can be recognized by swollen and tortuous vessels on the side of the head (the temples) that can cause pain when touched.
Sometimes the tongue and chewing muscles are painful when chewing or talking. Other complaints with temporal arteritis can include blurred vision, double vision, or other abnormalities of vision. Complaints that can also occur are feeling sick, weight loss, fever, and muscle pains.
How does temporal arteritis develop?
In temporal arteritis, the walls of some arteries are inflamed. The condition falls under rheumatic diseases. The cause of temporal arteritis is still unknown. Scientists believe that there are similarities with the disease ‘polymyalgia rheumatic’, the so-called ‘ muscle rheumatism ‘. In some cases, these conditions occur simultaneously in the same person.
Is it serious and what can you expect?
Diagnostics In addition to the typical symptoms, a doctor will usually make the diagnosis based on:
- blood tests (increased sedimentation)
- examination of a small piece of an artery. The removal of a small piece of the artery for examination is done under local anesthetic. In principle, this is a minor operation.
Treatment As soon as you have been diagnosed with temporal arteritis, you will start treatment. This usually means that you start taking an anti-inflammatory drug. In the beginning, this is given in a higher dose which is later lowered.
Prognosis After several years of treatment, the majority of patients with temporal arteritis are cured. The complaints have disappeared and medication no longer needs to be used.
When to go to the doctor?
If you recognize the complaints that are characteristic of temporal arteritis, it is advisable to always contact your general practice quickly. The condition can generally be treated well with anti-inflammatory drugs.
If you notice that you see less or double, you must urgently make an appointment.
What can you do about temporal arteritis yourself?
You cannot treat the complaints of temporal arteritis yourself.
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