Temporal arteritis is also called giant cell arteritis or cranial arteritis. It is a form of vasculitis – inflamed arteries – that affects the temporal arteries, those on the temple, beside the eye.
It typically strikes people over age 50 and the average age of patients is 72. The disorder is rare in people of African descent.
Temporal arteritis is diagnosed with a blood test that can assess the amount of inflammation. In addition, a biopsy is typically used to confirm the diagnosis. The biopsy involves a shallow incision over the artery to remove a segment of the artery. The cut artery is then sewn back together. The portion of the artery is then examined under the microscope.
Cause of temporal arteritis
The cause of this condition isn’t known, but has been linked to severe infections and high doses of antibiotics. Temporal arteritis is also believed to be related to a faulty immune response. Temporal arteritis is inflammation and damage to blood vessels leading to the head, especially the temples.
Treating Temporal Arteritis
When there is inadequate blood flow, cells and tissues can be severely damaged or die. Treatment is designed to cut tissue damage. Doctors prescribe corticosteroids, aspirin or sometimes medications that suppress the immune system.
It is important for this condition to be diagnosed and treated as soon as symptoms surface. If vision has already become impaired, the damage is usually permanent.
Temporal arteritis isn’t usually fatal.
In most cases, patients improve within three days.