Giant Cell Arteritis: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Options

Giant Arteritis

for Health

Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is an inflammatory condition of blood vessels causing damage to the vessels. This damage can limit blood flow to areas such as the head, neck, and shoulders and can cause serious head and facial pain, blurred vision and even blindness. GCA can also cause inflammation in other parts of the body.

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What are the Symptoms of Giant Cell Arteritis?

The most common symptom of GCA is pain or tenderness in the scalp, forehead or temple area, usually on one side of the head. Other symptoms may include changes in vision or vision loss, pain in the jaw or tongue, headaches, fever, and scalp tenderness. Some other less common symptoms may include confusion, depression, weight loss, anemia, and abnormal blood tests.

What Causes Giant Cell Arteritis?

The exact cause of GCA is unknown, but it is believed that it may be triggered by an infection, virus or injury. It is also believed to be associated with other underlying diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and lupus. Other possible factors may include age, genetics, vitamin D deficiency, and previous exposure to certain medications.

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GCA Treatment and Health Management

If you experience any of the symptoms associated with GCA, it is important to see a doctor right away. In most cases, GCA is treated with corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to reduce inflammation and improve symptoms. The doctor may also recommend other medications such as azathioprine and methotrexate to reduce inflammation and other complications. In some cases, surgery may be required to repair damaged blood vessels.

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It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions in order to properly manage GCA and maintain your health. A healthy lifestyle such as eating a balanced diet and avoiding smoking is essential for controlling the condition. Regular exercise can also help reduce the symptoms of GCA and improve overall health.

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