GIANT CELL ARTERITIS (TEMPORAL ARTERITIS) AND TAKAYASU ARTERITIS
Both of these conditions are caused by inflammation and damage to the blood vessels that supply the head, neck, upper body and arms. It occurs almost exclusively in individuals that are over the age of 50 with the disease increasing in incidence with progressive aging. It is more prevalent in people from the Scandinavian countries and regions settled by Northern Europeans. It most commonly occurs in the arteries around the temples (temporal arteries that branch off the carotid artery in the neck. The cause of the condition is unknown. It is believed to be due in part to a faulty immune response. The disorder has been linked to some infections and to certain genes. The problem may develop with or follow another inflammatory disorder called Polymyalgia Rheumatica.
Symptoms can include a throbbing headache on one side of the head or back of the head, tenderness of the scalp especially the temporal region, fever, malaise, jaw pain with chewing, pain in the arm after use, muscle aches, pain and stiffness in the neck, upper arms and hips, weakness and fatigue. Blurred and or double vision can occur. Reduced vision and blindness can occur. A cough, tongue or throat pain, hearing loss, and joint stiffness are also possible.
Micrograph of Giant Cell Arteritis By Nephron (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Takayasu Arteritis is the inflammation of the Aorta and is a rarer type of vasculitis. The disease can lead to blockages or narrowed arteries (stenosis) or abnormally dilated arteries (aneurysms). Takayasu’s arteritis can also lead to arm or chest pain and high blood pressure and eventually to heart failure or stroke.
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