Seeking advice - GCA symptoms?

I am a male 37 years old and recently started experiencing strange symptoms. I feel like I have pressure (not pain) on the sides of my head above my temples. In addition I can see visible signs of arteries in these areas under the skin. Exercise seems to make the areteries more pronounced. An Urgent Care doctor suggested he would take blood and give me an EKG just in case it was GCA. My blood labs came back normal -- C Reactive normal and SED rate normal. I understand these tests are not conclusive all the time for GCA. The only symptoms I have now are night sweats, pressure in temples and the pronounced arteries showing on my forehead. Any advice would be appreciated.

7 Replies

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  • Hi Stvhck,

    From first glance it does sound suspiciously like GCA, but you are on the young side. Not impossible certainly, but improbable. As you say bloods don't necessary have to be raised.

    If you haven't taken Pred then a temporal artery biopsy (TAB) might be useful.

    Do you have any symptoms of fatigue or general aches/pains/stiffness? Particularly in shoulders indicate GCA.

    Please keep us informed.

  • As DL says - unlikely but not impossible that it is GCA. Not quite sure what the OOH doctor thought he would see relevant to GCA on an ECG though. Do you have no other symptoms?

    Exercise WOULD tend to make the arteries more visible so I don't think I would worry too much about that at present. However - a man having night sweats should be investigated because night sweats are not normal and may be a symptom of a lot of things. GPs can be a bit dilatory about that though. But - it is your GP you need to see, not an Urgent Care doctor who is there for emergencies not on-going situations.

  • Thank you for the replies. I have been feeling a bit tired or fatigued the last few days. In addition my throats and eyes feel very dry. I had a period of a week where I had a headache that would come and go and also a stiff neck but was also fighting a stomach virus at the time.

    Currently I just have the slight pressure sensation above the temple area, dry throats and eyes and slightly tired. I'm still very active at the gym -- lighting heavy weights and 30+ minutes of cardio at a high pace. I do see the arteries in the area I feel pressure sticking out but after an hour or so post workout they seem to fade.

    I have an appointment with a rheumatologist tomorrow. Not sure if he can help but forgives it's worth a shot.

  • Hi again,

    Second post makes it sound less like GCA, but hopefully Rheumy will confirm either way.

  • I'm 49 and my bloods were normal but the clinical signs were all strongly +ve for GCA and I responded immediately and very strongly with 80mg Prednisolone. I'm not sure if there are side effects as I am a grumpy old sod at the best of times!

    I'm a lawyer and talking to a clinical negligence barrister (who was medically qualified prior to practice at the bar) -ve blood markers can be a false negative and serious permanent symptoms can arise if treatment is not commenced. I would seek an immediate second opinion and referral to your local eye hospital.

    I hope you're fine but don't take the risk. PS night sweats, yes, a regular feature for me but then again I was on line working on a case at 04:30 so there are some benefits.

  • Thanks again for the follow up replies.

    I saw a rheumatologist today and it was a complete waste of time. He basically sent me away because I do not have a headache or visual issues - also my age.

    I'm relieved that he said "I'm 90% sure it's not GCA", however I'm not sure what's wrong with me. I have a sore throats and when I chew food it hurts deep inside my ear canal. I also feel flu like aches right now.

    I'm seeing an Ear, Throat and Nose special list tomorrow to see if this might be something else.

  • Okay, let's hope he has something more positive to tell you. Please let us know.

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