What is giant cell arteritis (GCA) and is it serious? Giant Cell Arteritis is characterized by inflammation of the linings of larger blood vessels, usually in the head and often around the temple. Its cause is unknown, but it seems to affect older people but not always. It is also twice as common in women as in men.
Symptoms include new, persistent headaches, tongue or jaw pain or weakness, tender scalp around the temples and vision problems. Biopsies or MRI’s can usually confirm a diagnosis for GSA. This is a very serious condition and should be treated right away.
Treatment includes corticosteroid drugs such as prednisone, which are gradually reduced over a period of a year or more when GCA has run its course.
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