Headache of Temporal Arteritis

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This headache is caused by inflammation of the cranial arteries and is usually seen in the elderly. It presents with increasingly intense throbbing or non-throbbing headaches. There is often a superimposed sharp, stabbing pain associated with thickened and tender arteries. The pain is usually unilateral, localized to the site of the affected arteries. However, it may also present as bilateral and explosive in nature in some patients. Pain may be present throughout the day and may be more severe at night. It may last for several months, if untreated. Diagnosis is often made based on the patient's age (>55 years of age), no previous history of symptoms, general malaise, weight loss, low-grade fever, and anemia. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) may be elevated (>55 mm/h), and 50% of patients experience generalized aching of proximal limb muscles. A complication of temporal arteritis is blindness due to thrombosis of ophthalmic and posterior ciliary arteritis.

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