Giant Cell Arteritis
Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is a condition where inflammation of the lining of the arteries causes swelling inside the arteries. This can cut off the blood supply to organs and tissues in the body.
The most common arteries affected by the condition are around the head and neck, especially the area around the temples (i.e. temporal arteritis).
Giant Cell Arteritis belongs to a family of arthritic diseases called vasculitis. The word vasculitis means inflammation of blood vessels.
Importance of Early Treatment
New cases of Giant Cell Arteritis are considered a medical emergency that must be treated quickly and aggressively to help prevent serious consequences including blindness and stroke.
Treatment helps reduce damage to the arteries and ensure that important organs and tissues are not cut off from their blood supply.
Who Gets Giant Cell Arteritis
People aged 70 and older are most commonly affected by Giant Cell Arteritis. The condition can also occur in people in their 50s or 60's, but this is less common. It is about twice as common in women than men. People born in Northern Europe seem to have the highest rates of giant cell arteritis.
The condition is sometimes associated with another rheumatic disease called Polymyalgia Rheumatica. About half of the people who have giant cell arteritis also have Polymyalgia Rheumatica.