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Studies of the epidemiology of giant cell arteritis, an inflammatory vasculopathy that occurs in patients throughout the world, may provide an insight into the pathogenesis of the disease.
The epidemiology of giant cell arteritis (GCA) is one of its most fascinating and complex aspects. This inflammatory vasculopathy usually involves large- and medium-sized blood vessels, and often leads to devastating visual loss in one or both eyes from ischaemic damage to the retina, optic nerve or intracranial visual pathways. It is the most common vasculitis in Western countries, especially in people aged >50 years with northern European ancestry.1–7 In these populations, annual incidence rates are 20–30/100 000. In contrast, the incidence in age- and gender-matched populations in southern Europe and in Israel is about half that of northern Europe and the USA (about 11/100 000).6,7,8,9,10 In Japan, the first government-supported nationwide epidemiological study on GCA showed a prevalence of only 1.47/100 000.11
In this issue of the BJO, Chaudhry et al12(see page 715) report the results …
Competing interests: None declared.