Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Why is it raining? Is it Temporal Arteritis?

OK. So I can see rain when it isn't raining ... but not in sunlight or bright artificial light. So I get jaw pain (left) linked to chewing or talking too much!!! Headaches have been worse this past three weeks. Other symptoms are the same as per bloody usual, i.e, woken from sleep about 3 a.m. with nausea, headache and, just recently, fast pounding heart rate. Sound like a bad case of hypochondria? 

Don't worry .... don't think that I haven't already thought of that!

However, I did feel that the visual 'symptom' of seeing rain falling outdoors (and in) when it wasn't raining was perhaps something to report to my family doctor? So off I went today. After a thorough discussion of my symptoms where I voiced my concerns that my problems could be due to either Feckit or Fuss, my doctor was concerned that we should first eliminate a differential diagnosis of Temporal Arteritis. This is considered by some to be on the other end of the spectrum of Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR).... a condition that I was tested for last year where the results were inconclusive.



Giant cell arteritis is an inflammation of the lining of your arteries — the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Most often, it affects the arteries in your head, especially those in your temples. For this reason, giant cell arteritis is sometimes called temporal arteritis or cranial arteritis.

Giant cell arteritis frequently causes headaches, jaw pain, and blurred or double vision. Blindness and, less often, stroke are the most serious complications of giant cell arteritis.

Prompt treatment of giant cell arteritis is critical in order to prevent permanent tissue damage and loss of vision. Corticosteroid medications usually relieve symptoms of giant cell arteritis and may prevent loss of vision. You'll likely begin to feel better within days of starting your treatment.


The most common symptoms of giant cell arteritis are head pain and tenderness — often severe — that usually occurs in both temples. Some people, however, have pain in only one temple or in the front of the head.

Signs and symptoms of giant cell arteritis can vary. For some people, the onset of the condition feels like the flu — with muscle stiffness and aches (myalgia) around the shoulders and hips, fever and fatigue, as well as headaches.

Generally, signs and symptoms of giant cell arteritis include:

1.Persistent, severe head pain and tenderness, usually in your temple area

2. Vision loss or double vision

3. Scalp tenderness — it may hurt to comb your hair or even to lay your head on a pillow, especially where the arteries are inflamed

4. Jaw pain (jaw claudication) when you chew or open your mouth wide

5. Sudden, permanent loss of vision in one eye

6. Fever

7. Unexplained weight loss

8. Pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders or hips are common symptoms of a related disorder, polymyalgia rheumatica. 

Approximately half the people with giant cell arteritis also have polymyalgia rheumatica.

When to see a doctor

If you develop a new, persistent headache or any of the problems listed above, see your doctor without delay. If you're diagnosed with giant cell arteritis, starting treatment as soon as possible can usually help prevent blindness.

So the upshot of all that is that I have had URGENT bloods taken for various tests and an appointment has been made for me to attend the Ophthalmology (Eye) Department next Tuesday for a Temporal Biopsy (more later on that - I am too brain dead at the moment to explain further!).

Due to the risk of blindness if untreated I have had to re-commence steroids at once (Prednisone 60mg daily)  ..... oh joy! - Is it back to hamster cheeks, thick neck, weight gain and manic mood swings? .....

To minimise the risk of STROKE I have been started on regular enteric-coated Aspirin daily ... 

And to PROTECT me from the risk of gastro-intestinal BLEEDING (as a SIDE-EFFECT steroids and aspirin) I have been started on regular Omeprazole (gastric acid inhibitor) daily.

Wouldn't it be simpler to just DIE?

NO! NO! NO! ............ Believe me THAT WAS A JOKE, OK?

Anyway ...... this is all just a safety measure in case Giant Cell Arteritis is the underlying cause of my symptoms.  My own guess would be that it is those little buggers Feckit and Fuss. 

But time alone will tell ..........


S Rocks said...

Good post....thanks for sharing..


Lesly Finn said...

Glad if it was of any help to you! Reading it after such a long while it did actually make me laugh - so I hope you did too!