Getting prompt treatment can help prevent severe problems such as blindness or even stroke.
Most of the time, you will receive corticosteroids such as prednisone by mouth. These medicines are often started even before a biopsy is done. You may also be told to take aspirin.
Most people begin to feel better within a few days after starting treatment. However, you will need to take medicine for 1 to 2 years. The dose of corticosteroids will be cut back very slowly.
Long-term treatment with corticosteroids can make bones thinner and increase your chance of a fracture. You will need to take the following steps to protect your bone strength.
- Avoid smoking and excess alcohol intake
- Take extra calcium and vitamin D (based on your health care provider's advice)
- Start walking or other forms of weight-bearing exercises
- Have your bones checked with a bone mineral density (BMD) test or DEXA scan
- Take a bisphosphonate medicine such as alendronate (Fosamax) as prescribed by your provider.
You may also need to take other medications that suppress the immune system.