Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is inflammation of the arteries. The most common are the small and medium sized arteries in the head.
Temporal arteritis is a form of GCA. The temporal artery runs over the temple to the outside of the eye. This needs care right away to prevent vision loss or a stroke.
The exact cause of GCA is unknown. The immune system attacks healthy arteries. This causes inflammation. It’s not known what causes the immune system to be overactive.
GCA is more common in women. The chances are higher for people:
GCA may cause:
Temporal arteritis may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You may have:
Care will start as soon as GCA is suspected. It may involve:
There is no way to prevent GCA since the cause is unknown.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
College of Family Physicians of Canada
Giant cell arteritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/giant-cell-arteritis. Updated May 30, 2016. Accessed July 10, 2018.
Giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/giant-cell-arteritis-and-polymyalgia-rheumatica. Updated March 12, 2018. Accessed July 10, 2018.
Giant cell arteritis (including temporal arteritis). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115154/Giant-cell-arteritis-including...mporal-arteritis. Updated April 23, 2018. Accessed July 10, 2018.
Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
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.