Cranial arteritis is a condition in which the lining of the arteries is inflamed. Affect arteries may be in the neck, upper body and arms, but usually occurs in the head especially the arteries in the temples. The condition is also called giant cell arteritis, temporal arteritis, or granulomatous arteritis.
The doctor asks for the patient's symptoms and medical history and performs a physical exam particularly on the temporal arteries, which are usually tender, with a reduced pulse and a hard, cord-like feel and appearance. Blood tests or a biopsy is also done to confirm the diagnosis.
Affected individuals frequently have headaches, pain in the jaw, and blurred or double vision. If the condition is severe, it could lead to blindness or stroke. Although the symptoms of the condition vary, most affected individuals feel aches in the muscle with fever and fatigue as well as headache.
The condition occurs when the blood flow to the eyes or brain are impaired due to the swelling of the arteries. However, its specific cause is not known, but researchers think that there are genetic, viral, and environmental factors that play roles in the inflammation.
There is no cure for the condition but immediate treatment can relieve symptoms and prevent the loss of vision. Thus, the doctor starts medication before a diagnosis is confirmed through a biopsy. High doses of a corticosteroid drug are used to treat the condition.