Temporal arteritis, also known as giant cell arteritis, is a difficult condition that’s marked by an inflammation in the cells that line the arteries. The inflammation causes the cells in the arterial walls to become much larger than normal, which can lead to serious problems. The condition most often affects the arteries of the head, particularly the temporal arteries, which are located in the temples. This is the reason why it is sometimes called temporal arteritis.
Giant cell arteritis causes a wide range of symptoms that can vary depending on which arteries are affected and their location. The symptoms are generally focused around the head, but they can affect the entire body. The condition may even lead to death if it causes a stroke.
If the condition is detected, seek treatment immediately before more serious complications develop. Once treatment has begun, it’s important to keep checking in with a doctor to prevent any relapses and to manage any other symptoms that might emerge. If you notice any of the following symptoms, then it’s a good idea to seek medical attention.
Symptom #1: Headaches
A headache is one of the commonest symptoms of giant cell arteritis. About two-thirds of people diagnosed with the condition will experience some sort of headache. The headaches can vary in intensity and type.
They generally tend to develop quite quickly—within only one day—but they have been known to gradually grow in intensity over a period of days or weeks. Depending on which arteries are affected, the headache can be on one or both sides of the head. The pain will generally be focused toward the front of the head rather than the back.