I have Giant Cell Arteritis which causes inflammation to the medium and large arteries (and can affect the smaller ones also). It can cause lesions, aneurisms or other damage to the arteries which in turn can damage organs. It can result in sight loss, sometimes complete sight loss, in one or both eyes. It can also increase risk of heart attack, stroke and dementia. It is sometimes confused with temporal arteritis which is inflammation exclusively of the temporal artery. GCA often causes anxiety and depression and doctors often know little about it and treat patients as though they are hypochondriacs or attention seekers. It affects mostly women, over the age of 50, who may also have shoulder and/or hip pain and weakness. It would appear that women of Scandinavian origin have a greater likelihood of developing the illness. There is a huge amount of misinformation online, often by doctors who seem unable to differentiate between temporal arteritis (inflammation of the temporal artery) and giant cell arteritis elsewhere in the body (which they seem to ignore). Feeling for a pulse in the arms, legs or the head might indicate that blood is managing to struggle through. What is needed is blood pressure monitoring of each leg and arm because these often differ if the artery is inflamed. If other drugs are required, as they often are, such as anti-hypertensives or anti-diabetic drugs, avoid anything that causes the arteries to narrow (vaso constriction).
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