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Polymyalgia Rheumatica

more about Polymyalgia Rheumatica

  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica is a disease that often causes pain and stiffness of the shoulders and hip joints.  Because of this, people with this disease have problems with basic activities such as combing their hair, getting up from a chair, brushing their teeth, or putting on clothes.  The disease usually occurs in people over the age 50.  People with this disease also have a higher tendency to develop Temporal Arteritis.  The disease can be successfully treated with steroids.

  • The most common symptoms include: pain and stiffness of the shoulders and hip area.
  • Other common symptoms include fever, weight loss, and fatigue.
  • Muscle strength is good but the joints are painful and can sometimes be swollen.
  • As noted above, people with this disease often have problems doing everyday activities because of the problems the may have moving their hips and shoulders.

  • The disease is caused by an inflammation of the joints.
  • The cause of the inflammation is not known.

  • The diagnosis is usually determined by the symptoms.
  • Blood tests (such as the ESR) can help detect if there is a lot of inflammation in the body.  Most people with the disease also have anemia (low blood counts).

  • Steroids help to reduce the inflammation and swelling.
  • Prednisone is the steroid most often used to treat this disease, and is usually started at a dose of 10mg to 20mg a day.  The dose is then slowly reduced and eventually stopped as the inflammation decreases.  Treatment can last anywhere from 6 months to over 2 years depending on the patient's response to treatment.
  • If the person does not improve significantly within 72 hours, other diseases must be considered.

more about Polymyalgia Rheumatica

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