Temporal or cranial arteriits is the term used when one of the large or medium arteries that come from the neck to the head, becomes inflamed and dies. These are the blood vessels that supply the hear with blood and if this inflammation gets into the arms, neck or upper body, then it is called giant cell arteritis. This condition will usually happen in the head, in the temporal arteries which are the arteries that branch off of the carotid artery. This disease is not restricted to just the upper body but can actually occur anywhere in the body where there are large to medium sized arteries.
Doctors today do not know what causes this condition called temporal arteritis but they feel it has something to do with a faulty immune response. They do know that this disorder is connected with someone who has a severe infection and in those who have had high doses of antibiotics. This condition is usually found only in people over the age of fifty and rarely occurs in young people. It is even more rare to find it in the African race. Symptoms for this condition can be varied and show as excessive sweating, muscle aches, loss of appetite and a fever. This person can also have jaw pain that is not constant or maybe only having pain when chewing. The scalp of this person can also be sensitive and my have a throbbing headache that can be on just one side of the head. Vision difficulties can also be a symptoms and these can be seen as blurred vision, double or reduced vision and even blindness in one or both of their eyes. This person could also show signs of excessive tiredness and weight loss that can be up to five percent of their body weight.
There can be other all like bleeding gums, hearing gloss, face pain, and stiffness in the joints. There can also be pain in these stiff joints and sores in the mouth. You doctor exam could begin with touching the scalp to see if there is tenderness and looking to find a tender, think artery on one side of the neck. If an affected artery is found, it may have no pulse at all or a weak one. Diagnosing this condition cannot be done by a blood test. The only confirmation comes from a biopsy of the tissue collected from an affected artery.