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J Fam Pract. 1978 Dec;7(6):1109-11.

Giant cell arteritis-a systemic spectrum including temporal arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica.


Polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis are closely associated disorders that may pose serious threats to the elderly. While the etiological factors remain unknown, these clinical entities may represent different expressions of a common disorder. Recent evidence suggests that autoimmunological involvement of the internal elastic lamina of the large and medium-sized arteries might play an importent role in pathogenesis. Genetic and environmental factors may also contribute. Polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis have subtle and protean manifestations and formes frustes occur, contributing to delays in diagnosis unless the clinician holds a high index of suspicion while treating the elderly. The sequelae, including generalized disability, blindness, myocardial and cerebrovascular catastrophies can probably be avoided by timely and prudent use of corticosteroids. These are not uncommon disorders are among the most amenable to treatment of the rheumatological diseases. Family physicians must be diligent in their efforts to diagnose these disorders since early generalized and focal signs and symptoms frequently precede the catastrophic events.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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