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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Temporal arteritis (giant cell arteritis or cranial arteritis) is an inflammation of the lining of your arteries. It most often affects the temporal arteries. Temporal arteries are blood vessels that are located near your temples. Your arteries may become swollen, narrow, and tender. Over time, the swollen and narrowed temporal arteries cause decreased blood flow to the eyes, face, and brain. The lack of oxygen may result in other serious conditions, such as a stroke, heart attack, or blindness. Temporal arteritis may become life-threatening.
- Medicines , such as steroids, will be given to decrease inflammation. Medicines may also be given to help your immune system.
- Antiplatelets , such as aspirin, help prevent blood clots. Take your antiplatelet medicine exactly as directed. These medicines make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. If you are told to take aspirin, do not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead.
- Vitamin D and calcium may be given while you are using steroid medicines. These supplements help prevent bone loss.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Limit alcohol. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
- Exercise. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise can help build and strengthen bone.
- Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information if you need help quitting.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
- Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns
- Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
- Trouble breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing
- You have any of the following signs of a stroke:
- Numbness or drooping on one side of your face
- Weakness in an arm or leg
- Confusion or difficulty speaking
- Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss
- You have sudden vision loss in one or both eyes.
- Your signs and symptoms come back or get worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.