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Identifying risk factors for polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis

Award Details

  • Principal Investigator
    Dr Max Yates
  • Type of grant
    Clinical Research Fellowship
  • Amount Awarded
  • Institute
    Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital
  • Location
  • Status
  • Start Date
  • Grant reference number
  • Condition
    Vasculitis, Polymyalgia rheumatica

What are the aims of this research?

This project will use information collected from a large group of patients to study risk factors for subsequent development of polymyalgia rheumatic and giant cell arteritis. This will improve understanding of the causes of these conditions and improve treatment and outcomes.


Why is this research important?

Giant cell arteritis is an inflammation in the arteries. It commonly affects the arteries of the skull, causing pain and tenderness over the temples. In patients diagnosed with giant cell arteritis 35% develop permanent visual loss. Between 40-60% of giant cell arteritis patients also experience symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica, an inflammatory condition that causes many painful muscles. Currently 62% of patients with polymyalgia rheumatica and/or giant cell arteritis are left on long-term steroids and exposed to their detrimental effects. The causes of both these conditions are currently unknown and therefore an improved understanding of why and how they develop is required to improve diagnosis and treatment.  


How will the findings benefit patients?

Every year, there are over ten times as many patients diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica or giant cell arteritis than there are diagnosises of rheumatoid arthritis in patients over the age of 60. With an ageing populations, we are likely to see more and more people developing these conditions. This research will benefit patients as it will increase our understanding of the diseases and allow better detection of individuals at risk. It may also lead to the development of preventative measures and improved treatment options which could prevent serious complications such as blindness.


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