What Is Giant Cell Arteritis?
Giant cell arteritis, or temporal arteritis, is an inflammatory condition that affects the large blood vessels of the scalp, neck and arms. As these vessels become narrowed or blocked by inflammation, blood flow can be disrupted, which can potentially lead to a number of serious ischemic events, such as vision loss, or stroke.
While the exact cause of giant cell arteritis is unknown, researchers believe it may be related to an inappropriate immune system response that targets the blood vessels, including the temporal arteries.
What Are the Symptoms of Giant Cell Arteritis?
In its early stages, giant cell arteritis often produces flu-like symptoms, such as fever, loss of appetite and general fatigue. As the condition progresses, inflamed temporal arteries can cause:
- Tenderness of the scalp and temples
- Double vision
- Temporary vision loss (as if a curtain were pulled partly over one eye)
- Balance and coordination problems
- Jaw pain when talking or eating
- A persistent sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Occasional chest pains
If giant cell arteritis is suspected, a physician may order a temporal artery biopsy. This procedure involves the removal of a small portion of the temporal artery, which is situated close to the skin just in front of the ears and continues up into the scalp. The tissue sample is then sent to a lab for examination under a microscope. A diagnosis of giant cell arteritis may be confirmed if inflammatory and abnormal cells are found in the temporal artery walls.
How Is Giant Cell Arteritis Treated?
The symptoms of giant cell arteritis usually resolve relatively quickly with high-dose corticosteroid therapy, but it may be necessary to continue treatment for six to twelve months in order to keep the inflammation down and reduce the small but confirmed risk of blindness. Additional immunosuppressant medications are used by rheumatologist to reduce the inflammation, and shorten the duration of the corticosteroid regimen. In addition to closely following the prescribed medication regimen, it is important for a patient to get proper nutrition and regular physical activity, all of which can help minimize the side effects of corticosteroids.
Giant cell arteritis is a complex condition that requires specialized expertise to diagnose and treat. In Houston, Texas, you can consult with an experienced rheumatologist at Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.
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Everyone here is so professional and kind. Everything was explained to me so that could understand what had to be done. Haven’t had the surgery yet, will update when I have…. One month after surgery, started physical therapy and all is going well. Dr. Mack did such a great job. X Ray’s show the phenomenal work he did on my ankle. Thank you so much… The physical therapy here is great. They provide so much insight and help. Getting much better.
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Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine has, at 76, virtually given me a new lease on being mobile and active. I have seen Dr’s Tanous, Patel, and Cubbage for an assortment of neck, spine and hip problems. Steroid injections to spine by Dr. Patel and the bursa in my hips by Dr. Tanous have taken me from not being able to walk my dog to the end of the block without excruciating pain to walking her daily and even doing several 2 to 2.5 mile hikes on vacations in the last couple of years. I cannot praise them highly enough.
I highly recommend Advanced Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine whenever the need arises for great orthopaedic surgeons. They take care of you in a very professional and courteous manner. The Doctors do not rush out like most Doctors do, they sit down and explain what they find, what you need to do to get better and stay to find out if you have any questions or concerns. I also love the physical therapists that they have on premises if there is a need for physical therapy; you do not have to go anywhere else. The staff is also very professional and take care of your promptly. You do not have to wait a long time in the waiting room. All the Doctors are great but I appreciate very much Dr. Fehsenfeld, Dr. Mohr and Dr. Mills. I have peace of mind after I am being take care by these outstanding Doctors
I have found the staff to be courteous and professional. Lynn and Julie were wonderful to work with and took good care of me. And Dr. Brooks and Dr. Mack are excellent and I will seek their help with any and all Orthopedic issues involving my knees in the future.
Thanks for the help on strengthening my legs.after the back surgery, There was no pain shooting down the back of my legs after surgery. I am recovering well with no pain medications.after seven days. I sincerity appreciate Dr.Cubbage.expertise. He told me what to expect with the surgery and recovery. He was spot on and l feel lucky to get a great Doctor like Dr. Cubbage. I also want to thank his great staff for their professional assistance.
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They reach out to you afterwards to see how you are doing and I find that to be so hospitable in the culture and climate of our world today. Doctor. David Mack and his nurse Julie as well as the other staff are really the best and have a unique bedside as well as chair side manner. These are least to find qualities in healthcare today. Just to get someone to look at you while you explain as to why you are in for a visit today is a none find however; this staff is all of the above for mentioned and more! Please use this team for your Orthopedic needs and you will be happy with the outcome!