Giant Cell Arteritis


Quiz: Do You Understand Giant Cell Arteritis?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


Unlike arthritis, giant cell arteritis is a medical emergency.

Unlike arthritis, giant cell arteritis is a medical emergency, because inflammation of the arteries can cut off the blood supplies to tissues and organs in the body.

Pain in the hip girdle is not a symptom of giant cell arteritis.

Often, the first symptoms of giant cell arteritis go unnoticed, until people start experiencing flu-like symptoms, headaches, sore muscles, jaw claudication, weight loss and pain in the neck, shoulders and hip girdle. Following initial symptoms, many people experience pain in one or both temples, to the point where it hurts to lay your head on a pillow.

If left untreated, GCA can lead to stroke.

If left untreated, GCA can cause vision loss, complete blindness or stroke, so it’s important to seek medical care immediately if you think you might have this condition.

A low dose of prednisone is probably what your rheumatologist will recommend.

If your doctor or specialist suspects you have giant cell arteritis and confirms the diagnosis, it will be recommended that you go on high dose prednisone. Prednisone is an extremely effective treatment for this condition. Typically, your specialist will recommend a dose of one milligram per kilogram of prednisone.

Prednisone often has side effects that patients need to manage.

When patients go on high-dose prednisone for giant cell arteritis, one of the biggest management problems is handling the side effects from the prednisone. It’s important that you see your specialist to discuss about lifestyle and other medications that can minimize the side effects of long-term, high-dose prednisone.