Symptoms of Giant Cell Arteritis

Symptoms of Giant Cell Arteritis

Patients present with a range of phenotypes, typically with an insidious onset of symptoms. The primary distinctions to be made are between the classic symptoms indicating cranial involvement (headache, scalp tenderness, jaw and tongue claudication, trismus, diplopia, or visual symptoms) and the less classic symptoms indicating large-vessel/systemic involvement (fevers, weight loss, claudication, systemic symptoms).

Notably some patients (15% to 20%) can present with only large-vessel/systemic symptoms (e.g., fever of unknown origin, cough, arthritis, upper extremity claudication) and have none of the “classic” cranial GCA symptoms. Polymyalgia rheumatica may occur concurrently with (40%), or precede (20%), a diagnosis of GCA.


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