Temporal arteritis, or an inflamed artery, refers to the inflammation and eventual damage of an artery—often the carotid—that supplies blood flow to the brain. An inflamed carotid artery is a scary and dangerous condition. Moreover, the symptoms are wide-ranging and often extremely painful. As many of the symptoms of inflamed arteries might be shared with other conditions, learning the symptoms of an inflamed carotid artery is necessary to the expediency and success of treatment.
Many of the symptoms of an inflamed carotid artery may well be used to describe other illnesses. For instance, flu-like symptoms including fever, excessive sweating, nausea or a general feeling of illness might be symptoms of an inflamed carotid artery. Fatigue and weight loss are often manifestations of carotid artery damage as well. Muscle aches and pains, not unlike what you might experience with a cold or flu, may be present as well.
Headaches on one side of the head, especially the temple or in the back of the head, are often linked to an inflamed carotid artery. You might notice particular sensitivity on one whole side of the scalp, or a thickness in the area of the artery. These symptoms are usually accompanied by a throbbing or pulsing in the scalp. In spite of this symptom, weak or no pulse in the area of the carotid artery is common with temporal arteritis.
Vision problems are common symptoms of an inflamed carotid artery. Blurring, double vision and even a loss of vision can occur as a result of this condition. Vision problems may not be localized to the eye on the same side of the head as the affected artery; rather, either or both eyes may suffer a degree of instability or blindness as a result of an inflamed carotid artery.
The muscles in the face may experience pain or lack of functionality as a side effect of this condition. In particular, the jaw area is often greatly affected, causing discomfort when chewing, swallowing or yawning. Pain may be intermittent or steady. Some individuals might experience swelling or discomfort inside the mouth and on the tongue. Such pain usually occurs in the joint of the jaw.
Individuals may report a wide variety of additional symptoms, and the specific ones experienced vary greatly from one to the other. Bleeding gums and mouth sores are sometimes present. Joint stiffness or pain may be an indicator of an inflamed carotid artery. A dry cough, hearing loss and sharp nerve pain, while uncommon, have been reported by some individuals leading up to diagnosis of the condition. While any or all of these symptoms can be (and often are) present, sometimes a persistent feeling of general unease is the only indicator of carotid artery damage.