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Horton's disease - Definition


Definition


Horton's disease, or giant-cell arteritis (GCA), is an inflammatory disease of the blood vessels, quite common among the elderly after the age of 50. This infection is localized mainly in the tributaries of the external carotid artery, including the temporal artery, hence another commonly used name, temporal arteritis. The most common symptoms are mild fever, weight loss, fatigue, severe headache at one of the two temples, pain when chewing, and an exaggerated sensitivity of the scalp. On examination, the area of the temporal arteries is sometimes hot and red, with a decrease in pulse. Giant cell arteritis can cause blindness in severe cases. A blood test will show significant inflammation, including a greatly increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate. When in doubt, a biopsy of the temporal artery can be performed. The treatment consists of corticosteroids in decreasing doses.
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