Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RD
Temporal arteritis is inflammation of the arteries. It affects the arteries in the head, neck, and
upper body. The temporal artery is most often affected. It runs over the temple, to the outside of the eye. In extreme or untreated cases, this condition can lead to blindness or strokes.
Two other terms often associated with this condition include:
The cause of temporal arteritis is not known. It may result from an
autoimmune response in the body.
An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the immune system mistakes the body’s own tissue for a foreign invader, attacking and damaging it.
Temporal arteritis is more common in women, and in people aged 50 years and older. It is also more common among Caucasians, especially those of
Scandinavian or northern European descent. Other factors may increase your chance of getting temporal arteritis include:
Temporal arteritis may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
Corticosteroid therapy is used to decrease the swelling and inflammation. It will also help decrease the risk of blindness. At first, high doses
are often given. The doses are then tapered off. Therapy is often continued for several years.
Long-term use of corticosteroids has some harmful side effects. These may include:
Supplements will help to stop these effects on the bone. The supplements may include:
Your doctor may recommend that you take low-dose aspirin every day. This may help to reduce the risk of vision loss associated with temporal arteritis.
There are no current guidelines to prevent temporal arteritis.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology
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http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/giant-cell-arteritis-and-polymyalgia-rheumatica.html. Updated November 2010. Accessed August 7, 2013.
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http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Polymyalgia/default.asp. Accessed August 7, 2013.
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Temporal arteritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated September 18, 2012. Accessed August 7, 2013.
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Department of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. JAMA Surgery. 2004;139(11):1146-1147.
Last reviewed August 2013 by Michael J. Fucci, DO; Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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