Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)
What is polymyalgia rheumatica?
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory disorder that is characterized by flu-like symptoms, stiffness, and aches. These symptoms can last anywhere from one to five years.
Females are more commonly affected than males, and Caucasian people are impacted more as well. People around age 70 see the highest rates of this disorder, and it is extremely rare in those under 50.
What are the symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica?
- Swelling and inflammation of the joints
- Stiff joints
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Muscle weakness
- Pain and stiffness in the neck, hips, buttocks, upper arms, shoulders, and thighs
A serious complication of PMR is giant cell arteritis. If you experience new headaches on the sides of the head, changes in vision, jaw pain, or scalp tenderness, it is important to seek treatment.
What causes polymyalgia rheumatica?
Doctors are unsure of the exact cause, but they believe that PMR is an autoimmune disorder. They suspect that both genetic and environmental factors play a role, as does the aging process.
How is polymyalgia rheumatica diagnosed?
The first step is a physical examination, followed by a search for the characteristic symptoms. Blood tests are then used to rule out other conditions and check for inflammation.
What are the treatments for polymyalgia rheumatica?
The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation and address other symptoms. Doctors may prescribe corticosteroids, NSAIDs, and other anti-inflammatory medications. They also suggest exercise, such as walking or bike riding. The proper amount of rest is also important.