Seniors with giant cell arteritis are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Seniors with giant cell arteritis – a chronic inflammatory condition of medium and large arteries – are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to adults without this condition, says new University of Toronto research.

"The artery that you can feel pulsating on one side of your temple – the temporal artery – is the classic area where giant cell arteritis (GCA) occurs," says Dr. Joel Ray, a professor of medicine at U of T and a clinician-scientist at St. Michael's Hospital. "Definitive signs of inflammation are found in this tender, red, sore area of the artery. Some people who get GCA have involvement of the arteries that supply the brain, heart or main aorta itself, which can be quite devastating, leading to a stroke or heart attack."

Ray and his colleagues from Toronto's Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, report their findings in the March issue of Heart. They compared individuals with GCA to two control groups without GCA – those with osteoarthritis and those without any arthritic condition. When compared to the former, the risk of cardiovascular disease among GCA patients was 1.6 times higher. Compared to the healthy adults, however, GCA patients had more than a doubling of their risk of cardiovascular disease.

The prevalence of GCA is estimated at one per every 500 seniors. "Nobody knows why this disorder happens," says Ray. "It's quite spontaneous, it doesn't have an obvious genetic, ethnic or classic risk factor description to it. Literally, it's age-related, and often, chronic, requiring years to treat."

The researchers suggest that those who treat seniors with GCA be made aware of their greater risk of cardiovascular disease and that in addition to encouraging a healthy lifestyle, these seniors be considered candidates for aggressive management of other risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Are ultraprocessed foods putting your child's heart at risk?