What is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?
Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Approximately 450,000 Americans suffer from Polymyalgia Rheumatica.
01 | Introduction
Polymyalgia Rheumatica is a rare inflammatory disease and is also referred to as Anarthritic Syndrome, Arthritic Rheumatoid Disease and PMR. The cause is unknown, but it has been associated with immune system dysfunction that may be triggered by genetic factors, environmental factors, or by an infection. Learn more about this condition, including symptoms and treatment.
02 | Symptoms
Polymyalgia Rheumatica most often occurs in individuals over the age of 50 and is more common in Caucasians, especially those of Northern European or Scandinavian descent. Symptoms include:
- Muscle pain (myalgia)
- Muscle stiffness, especially in the morning
- Muscle tenderness and weakness
- Low-grade fever
- Loss of appetite
Almost a third of those affected develop symptoms characteristic of rheumatoid-like arthritis including degenerative changes in joints and joint swelling. Symptoms may disappear for a period of time and then reappear.
03 | Diagnosis
Diagnosis is confirmed after a thorough examination and specialized blood tests. Abnormally elevated sedimentation rate, as well as elevated serum albumin, globulins, and fibrinogen are indications of Polymyalgia Rheumatica.
04 | Treatment
For patients with no vascular symptoms, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can provide relief. In some cases, corticosteroid drugs are prescribed.
Researchers are studying the effects of alternative corticosteroids with fewer side effects, and immunosuppressants as additional treatment options.
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