Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Temporal Arteritis 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: