After struggling with blurry vision for years, I finally realized that it was time to consult with a professional. Simply put, I was tired of dealing with the struggles of acting like I could see when I really couldn't. It was embarrassing, and I just wanted to be able to participate like normal. I was nervous for the eye appointment, but my doctor was incredible. He walked me through every aspect of the exam and calmed my fears about permanent eye damage. This blog is all about working with an optometrist to get the vision experience that you really deserve.
Giant cell arteritis (or temporal arteritis) is an eye condition that affects around 228,000 people in the United States. The disease is one of a group of disorders that eye doctors refer to as vasculitis, which occurs when there is a problem with the blood vessels in the eye. Learn more about the symptoms of giant cell arteritis and find out which groups of people are at greater risk of suffering from this condition by reading this article
How giant cell arteritis affects you
With giant cell arteritis, the lining of the blood vessels (or arteries) that carry blood to the eye and brain becomes inflamed, which, in turn, causes the arteries to swell. Most commonly, the condition affects the temporal artery, which carries blood to the optic nerve. Giant cell arteritis can cause problems with your vision because the artery can swell so much that the optic nerve stops getting blood.
Doctors are not yet sure what causes the condition. Some scientist believe that genes and genetic variations may cause the problem, but research into the cause remains underway.
The impact of age
Older people are at higher risk of developing giant cell arteritis. In fact, the disease rarely affects anyone under the age of 50. The disease doesn't normally affect people until they reach their 70s or 80s, but the warning signs may appear at an earlier age.
Susceptibility to the condition largely increases with age because the body is less efficient as you grow older. The body's immune system generally gets weaker as you age, and other physical changes also take place. For example, vascular remodeling normally occurs as you grow older, which means the structure and arrangement of your blood vessels slowly change. This can lead to vascular degradation and weakness that can make these crucial body parts more susceptible to conditions like giant cell arteritis.
Gender and ethnicity incidence
Studies show that women are more likely to get giant cell arteritis than men. In fact, the disease affects women 2 to 3 times more often than their male counterparts. That aside, studies show that men tend to suffer more serious complications than women, and male patients are more likely to end up with serious complications like blindness.
Caucasian women are also more likely to suffer with the disease than other ethnic groups. In fact, the disease is more common in women from Northern European or Scandinavian backgrounds. You're at higher risk of the disease if there is a family history of giant cell arteritis, too.
Risk from other underlying medical conditions
Certain other medical conditions also increase the risk of giant cell arteritis.
Polymyalgia rheumatica is a relatively common condition that causes inflammation, pain and stiffness in the muscles around your shoulders and neck. Like giant cell arteritis, the condition normally affects people over the age of 50, and the condition can cause long-term problems like fatigue, depression and weight loss.
Studies also show that people with this condition frequently suffer with giant cell arteritis, often after the symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatic subside. Doctors are unsure why this happens, but an onset of rheumatic symptoms may point to a possible issue with the eye condition.
If you catch the symptoms of giant cell arteritis at an early stage, treatment methods are often effective. In fact, if a doctor properly treats the condition, giant cell arteritis doesn't generally recur.
Doctors normally treat the condition with a course of corticosteroids. Your doctor will prescribe a high dose of these drugs to start with, to help your body quickly overturn the effects of the disease. You'll normally need to maintain this treatment for one month. As the symptoms ease, your doctor will slowly cut the dose of the drug, to avoid unwanted side effects and complications.
Giant cell arteritis is a relatively common condition that affects thousands of people across the United States. Talk to your eye doctor for more information and advice. You can also click for more info here about eye care in your area.Share
23 March 2016