Steroids such as prednisone are good treatments for temporal arteritis (giant cell arteritis), and lead to resolution of these symptoms in many cases. A biopsy is very helpful to diagnose it definitively.
After several weeks in hospital and 5 different doctors diagnosing my mother with polymyalgia and possible giant cell arteritis, it turns out that she may not have these diseases at all. She improved a little at first with a high dose of prednisone, but her anemia was not improving. After having a biopsy done of her kidney, she has now been diagnosed with a rare, small vessel vasculitis disease called Wegener's Granulomatosis. They are treating her with prednisone, plasmapheresis and cyclophosphamide. Her vision is slightly improving now, so she may not have giant cell arteritis at all. She still has not had a biopsy done for this.
I have found a case report online where a woman had GCA and small vessel vascultis at the same time. Here is the link:
I'm also adding a link to the journal article about small vessel vasculitis being misdiagnosed as polymyalgia. I hope this article may help another person, who may have been misdiagnosed.
I hope you are doing well, Cath.
Hi clare. I am a 47yrs woman diagnosised with Giant Cell OR Temporal Arteritis in Nov 07.Try not to worry to much about your mother.The good news is that she is on the Prenisone so her eye sight is safe.It keeps the inflamtion down so no further damage is done. I improved within days,Pain,swelling and pain in my eyes all most cleared up. But the sensation is always there. As for the double vision, mine is gone as long as I stay on 40 mgs daily. I also found out that I have two cataracts in Nov. May be your mother might have them? This is a long recovery with a lot of ups and downs BUT when it has run its course it is all over and everything returns to normal. Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you want. cath278
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I'm not sure what your diagnosis is. If you are diagnosed with Giant Cell Arteritis then you should have had a biopsy done to confirm this diagnosis. You should see improvement in your condition when taking a high dose of prednisone. If you have polymyalgia, then you should see improvement when taking a lower dose of prednisone. From what I've read, most individuals with these two conditions respond well and quickly to prednisone and usually get back into their every day activities, but still have to pace themselves. In my mother's case, prednisone seemed to help her a little for the first 2 days that she took it, but it didn't seem to improve her condition after that. If the prednisone doesn't work, that should tell a doctor that he/she needs to look at checking out a different diagnosis.
Wegener's Granulomatosis, which is a small vessel vasculitis and usually difficult to diagnose, often presents like a cold...constant nasal drip, cough and hoarse throat. Some have nose bleeds, fatigue as well as many other of the same symptoms as GCA and polymyalgia. A positive ANCA blood test and a biopsy of the nose, kidney or lung confirms the diagnosis of this disease. It is treated with a high dose of prednisone and a low dose of cyclophosphamide and in some cases plasmapherisis is used to clean the antibodies out of the blood.
If you don't seem to be responding well to the treatment your doctor has given you for your disease and if he/she doesn't want to look at other possibilities, then you should get a second opinion.
Hello my name is brian and i have had problems getting a diagnoses. I think i have vasculitis. My dad had passed away at the age of 58 and he had severe pain and advanced vascular disease. I think he to may have had it. My symptoms have been adding up for a couple of years. I have been to around twenty doc and all of them have said something rheumalogical except for the rheum doctors. I have chest pain, neck and low back pain, hip, fingers, knees, feet, and toes have pain. i have heavy sweating spontaneously and my hands and feet stay cold. I have tingling in both legs and EMG test said i had chronic radiculopathy. I have jaw pain when chewing and i have had alot of headaches lately. I have alot of fatigue. I have GERD, antritis, gastritis, inflammtion of esphagous, hiltia hernia, stomach makes to much acid. prolonged gastric empting. I have mucles weakness and short term memory loss. I have recently( started in Jan 08) had problems with both eyes. I have been to Ophtamologist and he called it neovascularzation. He told the blood vessels in both eyes(the white part) were very inflammed. He put me on tobradex(steriod eye drop) for 2 months then put me on lotemax,restasis and xibrom and it has caused my vessels to retreat some. I have been to a cornea/ eye disease specialist and he told me it was systemic and had to be AI disease because i felt better with steriods. He ordered blood tests but i am still waiting. The rheu doc i saw today said she did not think i had any kind on disease at all. I just cant get a diagnose! I have lost my newly built home, my job for 10 years, and my vehicles. I am scared that my wife will not stick around long because i havenot gottn disability yet. Please any suggestions!!! Sorry for an inconvience
I was recently diagnosed and I am only 39 years old. Is it possible for my diaganosis be correct?
Hi clare .i sent a message to your message box. cath278
Hi clare .i sent a message to your message box. cath278
Wow, you are very young to be suffering from Giant Cell Arteritis. Thanks for sharing your information. My mother seems to be doing well on prednisone, but her anemia is slowing her down. She is still seeing double. Her doctors are still looking into other causes for her vasculitis and anemia. All of her tests have come back negative so far. She still has not had a biopsy of her temporal artery, but one should be done soon. Thanks again for sharing.