The most common symptoms of giant cell arteritis are head pain and tenderness — often severe — that usually affects both temples. The onset of the condition can feel like the flu.

Generally, signs and symptoms of giant cell arteritis include:

  • Persistent, severe head pain, usually in your temple area
  • Scalp tenderness
  • Jaw pain when you chew or open your mouth wide
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Vision loss or double vision, particularly in people who also have jaw pain
  • Sudden, permanent loss of vision in one eye

Pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders or hips are common symptoms of a related disorder, polymyalgia rheumatica. About 50 percent of 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 vision loss.

Oct. 02, 2015