Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a type of vasculitis, or inflammation of blood vessels. It occurs in adults over 50. In some people, GCA occurs along with polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), a joint pain condition. GCA is also called temporal arteritis. In GCA, arteries around the scalp and head inflame. Often, the temporal artery, a small blood vessel under the skin at the temples, swells and thickens. People with GCA may have persisting headaches, fatigue, fevers and flu-like symptoms.
• Headaches, often with severe pain and tenderness over the temples and the scalp
• Thickening or tenderness of the blood vessels at your temples
• Pain in the jaw or tongue when chewing
• Severe tiredness that affects your quality of life
• flu-like symptoms, such as a mild fever
• Sweats, during the day or night
• Double vision
• Rarely, loss of sight, which can occur suddenly
GCA treatment should start immediately after diagnosis to prevent vision loss. Doctors may start treatment before biopsy results are in if GCA is strongly suspected. First-line treatment usually a corticosteroid. Headaches and other symptoms often ease quickly with treatment, and the sed rate drops to normal.