Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)

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What is polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)?

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory condition that causes severe pain and stiffness. It most commonly starts after the age of 60 (though it can start as early as 50) and affects women more often than men.

What are the symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)?

The main symptom of polymyagia rheumatica (PMR) is severe and painful stiffness in the morning, especially in your shoulders and thighs.

Related condition – giant cell arteritis (GCA)

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is sometimes associated with a condition called giant cell arteritis (GCA), or temporal arteritis, which causes inflammation of the arteries in your head. It can affect your sight, so it needs prompt medical treatment.

How is polymyalgia (PMR) diagnosed?

Your doctor will usually make a diagnosis of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) based on your symptoms, the history of your condition and blood tests which will show inflammation. They may refer you to a specialist if the diagnosis isn’t clear.

What treatments are there for polymyagia rheumatica (PMR)?

You’ll probably be prescribed steroid tablets to treat polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). They often start to work very quickly but you’ll need to continue taking them for some time to keep the inflammation under control and prevent your symptoms coming back. Your doctor will keep the dose of steroids as low as possible.

Self-help and daily living for polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)

While you’re taking steroid tablets it’s important to make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D, and your GP may prescribe treatment to help maintain your bone strength. You should do weight-bearing exercise such as walking, which will also help to keep your bones strong and healthy.

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