Autoimmune vasculitis

Autoimmune vasculitis are a group of conditions that cause inflammation of the linings of the blood vessels and includes Giant cell arteritis (GCA).

Giant cell arteritis (GCA)

Giant cell arteritis (GCA) or temporal arteritis is one of a group of conditions referred to as vasculitis, meaning inflammation of the blood vessels.  It’s called arteritis because it affects the arteries rather than the veins.  It commonly affects the arteries of the skull, though other parts of the body may be affected.

The main symptoms include severe headache, pain and tenderness over the temples and scalp, thickening and tenderness of the blood vessels at the temples and pain in the jaw or tongue when chewing (jaw claudication).  It can be associated with significant fatigue, flu-like symptoms and weight loss, and is rarely associated with loss of vision, or stroke disease.

It may be associated with a condition called Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR), which causes pain and stiffness in the shoulders and hips.

If you have symptoms suggestive of GCA, you should seek urgent medical attention.