Last updated:10-15-2008
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Definition and cause

The two diseasesarteritis temporalis(AT) andpolymyalgia rheumatica(PR) are so closely related that they are here in a single article. About half of patients with AT have also PR, and 10-15% of patients with polymyalgia rheumatica have changes similar to arteritis temporalis.

Arteritismeans inflammation of an artery (artery), and since the disease most commonly occurs in the temple artery (temporal artery), it has been given its name then. Disease seen as also in other head arteries including eye arteries.

The mode is also calledgiant cell arteritisbecause the typical appearance of inflammatory cells.

When inflammation occurs in an artery, it can shut down and cause problems from the area on serving with oxygen.

Both AT and PR virtually never seen in patients under 50 years, and often the disease about 70 years of age. In Denmark get around. 20/100.000 people over 50 years AT annually, and around. 40/100.000 people diagnosed annually with the PER. Both diseases occur around. twice as frequently in women.

Symptoms of the temporalis arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica

Common symptoms of the two diseases are:

  • Fatigue.

  • Fever.

  • Decreased appetite.

  • Weight loss.

Bypolymyalgia rheumaticasee also:

  • Muscle stiffness.

  • Muscle pain.

The symptoms are predominantly in skulderåget, in the neck muscles, and in bækkenets muscles. Byarteritis temporalismay, in addition to common symptoms seen:

  • Temple headache, often turn on one side, but can also be seen in both temples.

  • Sore muscles twitch using.

  • Soreness, redness and lack of pulse temple artery.

  • If the eye artery involved, there is vision, and it leads to blindness. Eye manifestations are therefore very severe symptoms that require emergency treatment.

Precautions and diagnosis

Monday experiencing headaches of long duration, always consult a doctor. Are you over 50 years and feel a general malaise and headache, combined with muscle pain and stiffness, a doctor may choose to examine the temporalis arteritis.

Apart from the classic disease picture will be reinforcing the doctor's suspicion of a blood test that could reveal whether there is an inflammation in the body.

The final diagnosis made by, in a microscope to find giant cells in a tissue (biopsy) from the temple artery.

Consideration of the temporalis arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica

Treatment consists of the acute cases (especially if there is eye involvement) high doses of prednisolone (adrenal cortical hormones). The treatment is very effective, and even before the first day will be seen improvement among many.

Patients with polymyalgia rheumatica treated not as acute, and with smaller doses of prednisolone. Treatment Trappes slow down to the lowest possible dose. Of disease activity assessed by blood tests.


It is frequently the disease breaks out again. Often 1-3 years after illness onset and often it stays in the use of medication. It will then staircase prednisolonbehandlingen up again.

The vast majority of patients with these diseases are however completely healthy after treatment.


The most frequent serious complication of arteritis temporalis is blindness. At the slightest sign of this, there must be treated quickly, and within a vision impairment or blindness occurs when there is irreversible damage.

By closing the arteries to the brain can be seen strokes.

There are no dangerous complications of polymyalgia rheumatica in addition to the increased risk of developing arteritis temporalis.





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