WHAT IS IT
VOL: 99, ISSUE: 32, PAGE NO: 26
WHAT IS IT
- Arteritis is a progressive, inflammatory disorder affecting any medium-sized artery, most commonly the temporal artery.
- It is rarely seen in people under 50 years of age and the mean age of onset is 70 years.
- Severe headache (present in 85 per cent of patients) with throbbing, boring or sharp pain in the temporal area.
- There is no known cause, but ageing seems to cause the immune system to attack the arteries.
The main concern is vision loss or blindness. However, if allowed to progress temporal arteritis can affect arteries in other parts of the body and can cause:
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
- A course of corticosteroids (usually prednisolone) is effective if administered promptly. Treatment should continue until remission of the disease is seen. Doses should then be tapered gradually to a maintenance dose.
- As many eye conditions are asymptomatic it is essential to emphasise the importance of having regular eye tests.
- Current research is looking at genetic factors, immune system abnormalities and environmental factors that may play a role in temporal arteritis.