What is temporal arteritis? Temporal arteritis is a serious disorder that causes chronic inflammation of the large and medium arteries of the head, which supply oxygenated blood to portions of the head and brain. This inflammatory disease results in an inadequate supply of oxygen and nutrients in the brain and head areas. Temporal arteritis is believed to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks normal healthy cells and tissues, causing inflammation. Temporal arteritis often affects the temporal arteries, which run over the temple areas next to the eye, but can also affect other arteries throughout the body. Temporal arteritis can cause a wide variety of symptoms that may affect the eyes, head, face and body in general. Temporal arteritis is a relatively uncommon disorder, but it is the most frequent cause of vasculitis (an inflammation of the blood vessels). Temporal arteritis is also called giant cell arteritis and cranial arteritis. Temporal arteritis is more common in people older than age 50, and it affects women more often than men. Temporal arteritis is treatable, but left untreated it can lead to serious complications including blindness and stroke. Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms of temporal arteritis, such as headache, jaw pain, or changes in vision.