Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Although the exact cause of giant cell arteritis isn't known, several factors can increase your risk, including:
- Age. Giant cell arteritis affects older adults almost exclusively — the average age at onset of the disease is 70, and it rarely occurs in people younger than 50.
- Sex. Women are about two times more likely to develop giant cell arteritis.
- Northern European — especially Scandinavian — descent. Although giant cell arteritis can affect anyone, people born in Northern European countries appear to have higher rates of giant cell arteritis. People of Scandinavian origin are particularly at risk.
- Polymyalgia rheumatica. People with polymyalgia rheumatica have stiffness and aching in the neck, shoulders and hips. About 15 percent of people with polymyalgia rheumatica also have giant cell arteritis.
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