Definition

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a disease that causes inflammation throughout the body. It results in muscle pain and stiffness.

Causes

The cause is unknown. Genes and things in environment around you may play a role.

Risk Factors

PMR is most common in people over 50 years of age. It is more common in women and people of European descent.

Symptoms

Symptoms of PMR may include:

  • Muscle pain and stiffness in the hip, shoulder, or neck
  • Pain that spreads to the elbows or knees
  • Low energy
  • Morning stiffness lasting longer than 30 minutes
  • Weight loss without a known cause
  • Fever

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. PMR will be suspected if symptoms are there for more than 2 weeks.

A blood test may be done to rule out other causes.

Treatment

Treatment often leads to rapid relief. Steps may include:

  • Corticosteroids—may be used for up to 2 years at low doses
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine

Long term steroids can cause bone loss. Supplements may be given to stop bone loss.

Prevention

PMR can not be prevented.

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