Temporal arteritis is an inflammatory condition that involves any large or medium-sized artery. The cause of this condition is unknown. Those affected are usually over 50 years of age. The person may feel generally unwell along with a low-grade fever, muscle stiffness, weight and appetite loss.
Due to tenderness of the temporal artery, there may be an associated severe and throbbing headache particularly around the temples. Jaw pain may be experienced with chewing. Constant or momentary double vision, blurring, flashing lights and colour disturbances may occur.
Damage to the blood vessels of the optic nerve (responsible for transmitting information from the eye to the brain) may cause permanent visual loss. Urgent diagnosis and treatment is necessary in cases such as these, and this is a good example of why all headaches and migraines need to be properly diagnosed before any treatment is undertaken.
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