Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
and Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)
What is temporal arteritis?
Temporal arteritis is the most common form of
giant cell arteritis, a condition in which some arteries become tender and
swollen. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen through the body.
Temporal arteritis affects the arteries that are
above and in front of the ears on both sides of the head. The symptom most
common with temporal arteritis is headache. Some patients might feel pain while
chewing or may even lose their eyesight.
Often, a biopsy of the temporal artery is needed
to confirm the diagnosis. For this biopsy, a small piece of the temporal artery
is removed and looked at under a microscope.
What is polymyalgia rheumatica?
Polymyalgia rheumatica is a condition that
causes stiffness and aching in the neck, shoulders, hips and thighs. A physical
exam and blood tests are needed to find out if you have this condition.
Temporal arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica
are more common in women over the age of 50 than in younger women or in men.
How are temporal arteritis and
polymyalgia rheumatica treated?
Your doctor may prescribe a medicine called
prednisone. Once you start taking prednisone, you should feel better quickly.
You may need to take this medicine for up to 3 years.
Because prednisone is a strong medicine, your
doctor might give you special instructions:
- Prednisone is usually taken once a day in the
- Don't stop taking prednisone or decrease the dose
without talking to your doctor first. You need to work closely with your doctor
while trying to stop treatment. If you stop it abruptly, you will get very sick.
- If you get sick with another health problem or
need to have surgery, you might need to take larger doses of prednisone for a
- All of your health care providers should know
that you are taking prednisone. Some people wear a neck tag or bracelet that
says they are taking this medicine.
- Over time, prednisone can cause thinning of the
bones (osteoporosis), cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes and high blood pressure. It
might also be a factor in mood swings, weight gain, trouble sleeping or a
greater chance of infection. To prevent or treat these problems, your doctor
might need to see you more often. You might avoid or lessen some of these
problems if you eat healthy foods, exercise, avoid smoking and take calcium