gca and abdominal aorta problems

Has anyone developed abdominal, intestinal problems that have GCA. My new doctors is concerned and doing all kinds of test. Didn't think it could be in other arteries. Just went finally down to 20 mg. prednisone and only week later, temple arteries started buldging again. Original was 60 in December. She felt being reduced too soon.

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  • This might shed some light for you my husband who just had his 65 b/day is going for a abdominal aortic aneurysm screening it is been offered to all men in there 65year he ..does not have PMR or GCA

  • cassey, patients with GCA are at a small risk of experiencing an abdominal aortic aneurism. For that reason, it is recommended that patients should be monitored via a chest X-ray at diagnosis which should be repeated every 1-2 years throughout treatment for GCA and beyond.

  • Thanks, ultra sound yesterday, MR tomorrow, and CT scan scheduled for Monday. This site is so helpful, I could cry!

  • This is interesting as my elderly mum was admitted to hospital in May last year 4months after losing most of her eyesight to GCA, she'd had a severe cough for about a week then developed a bad urine infection and was unable to stand unaided the out of hours GP also had concerns about sensitivity under her rib cage he admitted her to hospital to be checked for an aorta anuerysm. (Her younger brother had died of one several years ago) She was 88 at the time & put on intravenous antibiotics for the urine infection but the hospital doctors decided NOT to do any tests for an anuerysm as they said the tests could be invasive & if found surgery was the only option and due to her age she would probably not survive it.

    Mum thankfully is still with us she was started on 60mg pred and 17months later is down to 1mg but the cough came back several months ago during which time she's had a chest X-ray & 2 lots of antibiotics and an inhaler none of which has made much difference. Mum is a also on the blood pressure tablet Ramipril & we have heard this can cause a cough as well as other severe side effects such as swollen lips & gums, so a few days ago she decided to stop taking it for a while to see if it helps (mum is in a care home & the GP is useless).

    I would be interested to know if anyone else with GCA/PMR has suffered with a productive perssistant cough as steroids can be given to treat coughs but they haven't helped mum.

  • Hi 4sibbs,

    Am on Ramapril, have been for about 15 years, long before GCA et al, and I also have a persistent annoying cough. Not enough to worry about and I've put it down to the drug. Trouble is, if you change to another similar you are just as likely to still get cough, so as long as nothing else shows up in tests it seems to be something to put up with! DL

  • Had a dry cough, but seemed to go away with the 60 mg of prednisone, but seemed to come back when it was lowered.

  • GCA can affect any artery that has an elastic component to the vessel wall - and it is commonly found in the aorta and other arteries in the chest leading to symptoms in the upper arms in particular. It isn't as common, but it can also affect arteries supplying the mesentery, the connective tissue around the gut and that can cause abdominal pain.

    Celtic mentions abdominal aneurysm but it can also lead to an aneurysm in the chest, closer to the heart .

    And yes - being down to 20mg now from 60mg at Christmas is rather fast. The paper from the former members of the Bristol group takes 6 months to get from 60mg to start with to 20mg and some research last year suggested that there are still signs of GCA after 6 months on doses above 20mg even though the ESR and CRP were normal and the patient had no symptoms.

    But your new GP sounds to be on the case - things are looking up!

  • Thank you for your information. I just had abdomen ultra sound, tomorrow MRA and Monday CT scan. Have had diarrhea for over 3 weeks now and she is concerned about a blockage or abdominal aneurysm. Was reading that it can effect your bowels. Do you now anything about that? I do think this doctor in Philadelphia (over hour away) is very knowledgeable, but she has me a little scared and has told me this is not an easy disease. I just turned 68 and was in good health, only a baby aspirin till diagnosed in December, after insisting 3 times that I thought I had GCA and finally eye doctor wrote not saying I really need the biopsy, which came back positive. Read where you can not have a false positive, but you can have a false negative if they don't get the right spot in your artery. So, they said it was definitely positive. My surgeon said he was actually shocked that it came back positive, and that in his lifetime he has done about 400 biopsies. So, I guess it is really rare here. Could not even find a support group here, and so glad I have joined this sight it has been so helpful and brings teas to my eyes. Thank you. Also just read Kate Gilbert's book and loved it.

  • What other medication are you on? Have they given you a PPI for stomach protection? Omeprazole or something similar?

    Does sound as if you have a sensible set of docs - worth travelling to! AND a confirmed diagnosis - that saves arguments later on.

  • Hi cassey will you let us know results of your test. I had a scan on my neck last week and DR said there was no blockage, I was diagnosed with PMA and the GCA in jan 15 after severe headache. And jaw pain and swollen arteries both sides of temple I was admitted to hospital and was there for 4 days, they did eye exam and biopsy which came back positive. I was discharged and was on 60mg of pred but next day got severe headaches and went back to hospital they gave me painkillers and all the bloods like CRP and sed rate were up. But by weekend I had tempory eye sight loss ( I had eye exam and they said it was tempory) so I was lucky so on 80mg now

  • Yes, did give me nexium for stomach and now take med. for high blood pressure from the high doses of prednisone, and have to get more blood to see about diabetes now, as sugar is high from the prednisone

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