Temporal arteritis is the inflammation of the linings of arteries, particularly those located at the head. This vascular disorder affects five out of every ten thousand individuals. Individuals aged fifty and above and women are mostly among those at high risk for this disease. It manifests with symptoms such as frequent severe headaches, jaw pain either when chewing or talking, double vision or loss of vision, and pain and tenderness over the temples. Patients diagnosed with this disease also present with general symptoms like weight loss, flu-like symptoms, tiredness, and depression. Temporal arteritis is a severe disease, and thus, immediate consultation with a physician is a must. This article will discuss the most common methods of treating temporal arteritis.
Corticosteroids are used to treat temporal arteritis to suppress vascular inflammation and decrease the risk of blindness. The lack of a standard in the use of corticosteroids is one disadvantage in this treatment regimen. Physicians often suggest patients take corticosteroids, especially in cases when they are at high risk for blindness. The use of corticosteroids is the universally accepted treatment for temporal arteritis. It is commonly administered in high doses. Patients with temporal arteritis start to take corticosteroid with oral prednisone of about forty to sixty milligrams a day. After a week, the patient will be subjected to temporal artery biopsy. There are instances, however, in which patients receive a higher dose of corticosteroids after the early stage.
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Take Acetylsalicylic Acid
Acetylsalicylic acid works against pain, fever, and inflammation. In long-term use, this medication was found to be effective in preventing heart attacks, ischemic strokes, and blood clots. Acetylsalicylic acid is used in this disease to reduce inflammation and works by inhibiting interferon gamma (IFNy) production in the temporal artery-SCID mouse chimeras. A study that looked on the effectiveness of acetylsalicylic acid in treating temporal arteritis found the combination therapy of acetylsalicylic acid and corticosteroids can improve the management of giant cell arteritis. It also found acetylsalicylic acid has moderate inhibitory effects on the NF-KB pathway. Acetylsalicylic acid was discovered to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect on suppressing IFNy.
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Calcium And Vitamin D Supplements
Temporal arteritis can also be treated with calcium and vitamin D supplements, which are commonly used to fight osteoporosis. A study found the combination of these dietary supplements is effective on combating inflammation experienced by older patients with giant cell arteritis. It focused on patients with polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis who were asked to take these dietary supplements. Additionally, the American College of Rheumatology advised patients with temporal arteritis on long-term corticosteroid therapy should receive calcium and vitamin D supplements. The reason behind their recommendation is older individuals are those commonly diagnosed with temporal arteritis, as well as at a higher risk of developing bone diseases. A prescription of these supplements can protect their bones from the side effects of corticosteroids.
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Regular Bone Density Screenings
Bone density screening is a procedure to determine whether an individual has osteoporosis or not. The diagnostic test is usually prescribed to identify a decrease in bone density, determine the risk of bone breaking, confirm the diagnosis of osteoporosis, and monitor bone health. Older individuals diagnosed with temporal arteritis are asked to have regular bone density screenings. Long-term use of steroids can significantly impact bone density, calcium, and vitamin D. Patients on steroid medication were found to suffer bone loss only after six months of the therapy. Patients on long-term steroid medication are also at risk of fracture, which becomes higher with each increase in dosage. Aside from taking supplements in combination with corticosteroids, physicians advise bone density screenings to monitor and prevent the development of bone loss and other disorders.
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Engage In Weight-Bearing Exercises
Given the significant impact of long-term use of steroids on bones, physicians will often prescribe exercises to maintain the integrity of their patient's bones. Individuals suffering from temporal arteritis are usually told to take dietary supplements of calcium and vitamin D to prevent reduce levels of such nutrients. Engaging in weight-bearing exercises is also among the recommended options for managing temporal arteritis. It allows patients to prevent the development of osteoporosis while undergoing treatment for temporal arteritis. Weight-bearing exercises are prescribed as it forces the body to work against gravity. Dancing, jogging, tennis, and hiking are some examples of this exercise. Patients on steroid therapy who are already with osteoporosis are advised to consult with their physician before they do engage in weight-bearing exercises.