Headache Home > Temporal Arteritis
Temporal arteritis is a condition that causes swelling of arteries in the head, neck, and arms. The exact cause is unknown, but is believed to be possibly linked to the aging process. Some people with this disorder also develop polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). Common symptoms include one-sided headaches, blurry vision, and tenderness in the temple area.
Temporal arteritis, also known as giant cell arteritis and cranial arteritis, is a disorder that results in the swelling of arteries in the head (most often the temporal arteries, which are located on the temples on each side of the head), neck, and arms. This swelling causes the arteries to narrow, reducing blood flow. Early treatment is critical for a good prognosis.
Temporal arteritis is quite common. In the United States, an estimated 200 out of every 100,000 people over the age of 50 develop this condition.
The cause of temporal arteritis is not known; however, possibilities include immune system abnormalities and genetic factors.
The fact that temporal arteritis is rare in people under the age of 50 suggests that it may be linked to the aging process. Also, about half of the people affected by the condition also have polymyalgia rheumatica. At this point, though, research scientists are not sure there is a direct connection between the two.
It is unclear how or why temporal arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) are related, but about half of the people affected by temporal arteritis also have polymyalgia rheumatica.
An estimated 15 percent of people in the United States with polymyalgia rheumatica also develop temporal arteritis. People can develop temporal arteritis either at the same time as polymyalgia rheumatica or after the polymyalgia symptoms disappear.