Giant Cell Arteritis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/15/2020

Giant cell arteritis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the arteries, a type of blood vessel. It most commonly affects the arteries in the head and typically occurs in people over age 50. Giant cell arteritis is also referred to as cranial arteritis or temporal arteritis.

Signs and symptoms of giant cell arteritis include

  • headaches,
  • jaw pain with chewing, and
  • scalp tenderness (usually over the inflamed arteries of the sides of the head).

Other associated symptoms and signs can include

More serious symptoms and complications can include

Arm pain is a possible but less common symptom.

Cause of giant cell arteritis

The exact cause of giant cell arteritis is not understood.

Other giant cell arteritis symptoms and signs


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.