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Home :: Immune Disorders

Polymyalgia Rheumatica - Causes and Treatment


Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Allergic Rhinitis
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Blood Transfusion Reaction
Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis
Common Variable Immunodeficiency
Digeorge Syndrome
Fibromyalgia Syndrome
Goodpastures Syndrome
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Lupus Erythematosus
Polymyalgia Rheumatica
Polymyositis Dermatomyositis
Reiters Syndrome
Sjogrens Syndrome
Systemic Sclerosis
Urticaria Angioedem

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a relatively common cause of widespread aching and stiffness in older adults.Polymyalgia rheumatica is a disorder that almost always occurs in persons over 50 years old. It is characterized by proximal myalgia of the hip and shoulder girdles with accompanying morning stiffness lasting for more than 1 hour. Approximately 15% of patients with polymyalgia rheumatica develop giant cell arteritis (GCA), and approximately 50% of patients with giant cell arteritis have associated polymyalgia rheumatica. PMR causes severe pain in the proximal muscle groups; however, no evidence of disease is present at muscle biopsy. Muscle strength and electromyographic findings are normal Patients with polymyalgia rheumatica often have elevated interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels. One hypothesis holds that in a genetically predisposed patient, an environmental factor, possibly a virus, causes monocyte activation, which helps determine the production of cytokines that induce manifestations characteristic of polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis

Polymyalgia rheumatica can affect people of any race, the vast majority are white. Polymyalgia rheumatica sometimes occurs along with giant cell arteritis, a condition that causes swelling of the arteries in your head. Symptom of polymyalgia rheumatica is stiffness after resting. Involvement of the upper arms, with difficulty raising them above the shoulders, is especially common. Polymyalgia rheumatica almost always affects whites; however, polymyalgia rheumatica may occur in African American persons. Women are affected somewhat more often than men, and the disease is more frequent in whites than nonwhites, but all races are susceptible.

Causes of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Common causes of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

  • Giant cell arteritis.
  • Genetic factors.
  • Adenovirus.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Stiffness in your neck.
  • Autoimmune process.

Symptoms of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Common Symptoms of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

  • Stiffness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Malaise
  • Face pain

Treatment of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Common Treatment of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin )also may be used to treat polymyalgia rheumatica. The medication must be taken daily, and long-term use may cause stomach irritation.
  • Giant cell arteritis is treated with high doses of prednisone.
  • Cortisone is a steroid that reduces inflammation.
  • Exercise can reduce the pain of polymyalgia rheumatica and improve your overall sense of well-being. It can also help prevent weight gain, a common side effect of taking corticosteroids.
  • Eating well can help prevent potential problems such as thinning bones, high blood pressure and diabetes. Good nutrition can also support your immune system.
  • Methotrexate, azathioprine, and other immunosuppressive drugs have been used in some centers in an effort to limit dosage and duration of corticosteroid therapy.
  • Use luggage and grocery carts, reaching aids, and shower grab bars to help make daily tasks easier.