Temporal arteritis (also known as giant cell arteritis) is the inflammation of the lining of the arteries. When the arteries in the head get affected, particularly in the temples, it’s called temporal arteritis. The condition frequently causes headache, tenderness in the scalp, pain in the jaw and vision problems. If untreated, it may trigger stroke or blindness.
Prompt diagnosis and quick treatment regimen is very crucial. You must visit your doctor for regular monitoring and checkups as well as for the treatment of any side effects from taking corticosteroids.
Causes And Symptoms Of Temporal Arteritis
The lining of the temporal arteries gets inflamed. This makes them swell. The swelling narrows the blood vessels and decreases the amount of blood and, consequently, oxygen and nutrients which reach the body’s cells.
Swelling most often occurs in the arteries located in the temples. These are located just in front of your ears and move up to the scalp. The precise cause for the condition isn’t known yet. Certain genes may raise your vulnerability to the condition.
Signs and symptoms temporal arteritis include:
- Constant, severe headache.
- Tenderness in the scalp.
- Pain and stiffness in the neck.
- Pain in the jaw.
- Vision loss or double vision.
- Sudden, permanent loss of vision in one eye.
Alternative Treatments For Temporal Arteritis
- Treatment for temporal arteritis comprises of administering corticosteroids. Prompt and urgent treatment is very vital to stave off vision loss; hence, your physician will start the medications even before making the diagnosis.
- Unless you have complete vision loss, the vision related symptoms will ameliorate in 3 to 4 months.
- Medication needs to be kept on for 1 to 2 years or more. After the first month, the dosage will be tapered.
- In case you have flare-ups, talk to your doctor, this will be treated with a slight increase in the corticosteroid dose. Your health care provider will also advise a drug to help diminish the side effects of the corticosteroids.
- To counter the side effects of the corticosteroids, your health care provider will keep an eye on the bone density and will prescribe calcium and vitamin D supplements. Monitoring the B.P. is essential. Also, you will be given an exercise program, diet changes and medication to keep blood pressure normal.
- Eat a healthy diet. Give emphasis to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats and fish; and restrict your intake of salt, sugar and alcohol. Quit smoking. Confer with a nutritionist if necessary.
- Exercise regularly, at least thrice a week. Aerobic exercises, such as walking, jogging, can help ward off against bone loss, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. It also benefits your heart and lungs. What’s more, people find that exercise helps enhance mood and the overall sense of well being. If you are not used to exercising, begin slowly and build up gradually.
- Make sure that you go for regular checkups. Visit your doctor to check for side effects of the treatment and development of any kind of complications.
- Ask your doctor about taking between 75 – 150 milligrams of aspirin every day. If you take aspirin every day, i.e. low dose aspirin, it is known to reduce the risk of blindness and stroke.