Giant cell arteritis can threaten the elderly

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Detroit, Mich. (MultiVu) -- Some autoimmune diseases are rare and can be difficult to diagnose because they have many different symptoms.

One example of a difficult to diagnose autoimmune disease is giant cell arteritis (GCA).

GCA, which occurs primarily in people over 50, that is estimated to affect over 220,000 people in the United States, and the disease is two to three times more likely to affect women than men.

GCA usually causes swelling of medium and large arteries in the head, neck and arms.

It can cause severe headaches, jaw pain and visual symptoms and if left untreated, can lead to blindness or stroke.

This disease is often difficult to diagnose because of the wide and variable spectrum of signs and symptoms.

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