What is Temporal Arteritis?

Temporal arteritis is a form of vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels). In temporal arteritis, also known as giant cell arteritis or Horton’s arteritis, the temporal arteries (the blood vessels near the temples), which supply blood from the heart to the scalp, are inflamed (swollen) and constricted (narrowed). The vasculitis that causes temporal arteritis can involve other blood vessels, such as the posterior ciliary arteries (leading to blindness), or large blood vessels like the aorta and its branches, which can also lead to serious health problems.

If not diagnosed and treated quickly, temporal arteritis can cause:

  • Damage to eyesight, including sudden blindness in one or both eyes.
  • Damage to blood vessels, such as an aneurysm (a ballooning blood vessel that may burst).
  • Other disorders, including stroke or transient ischemic attacks (“mini-strokes”).

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