Rheumatic Polymyalgia - What It Is, Symptoms and Treatmentsthis condition. In additionPolymyalgia Rheumaticais an inflammatory disease that causes muscle pain and stiffness in various parts of the body. THEPolymyalgia Rheumaticausually affects people over 65 years of age. Little is developed in those under 50 years. THEPolymyalgia Rheumaticais also more likely in women than in men. People of Northern European and Scandinavian ancestry are at highest risk for the condition as well.
THEPolymyalgia Rheumaticausually affects the:
The symptoms usually appear suddenly and tend to be worse in the morning. Some people withPolymyalgia Rheumaticaare also diagnosed with a related disease called temporal arteritis. This condition causes inflammation of the blood vessels in the scalp, neck and arms. Temporal arteritis can also cause headaches, jaw pain, and vision problems..
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Symptoms of Rheumatic Polymyalgia:Pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders are the most common symptoms ofPolymyalgia Rheumatica. Pain and stiffness may gradually spread to other areas, such as the shoulders, hips, and thighs. These symptoms usually affect both sides of the body.
Other common symptoms ofPolymyalgia Rheumaticainclude:.
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden and involuntary weight loss
- Anemia or low red blood cell count
- A low grade fever
- Limited range of motion
Symptoms ofPolymyalgia Rheumaticadevelop rapidly, usually for several days. In some cases, the symptoms may appear overnight. They tend to be worse in the morning and gradually improve throughout the day. For some people, being inactive and staying in one position for a long period of time can worsen the symptoms.
Pain and stiffness can eventually become so severe that people have difficulty performing everyday activities, such as standing on the couch, dressing or getting into a car. Sometimes the symptoms ofPolymyalgia Rheumaticamay even make it difficult to sleep.
Causes of Rheumatic Polymyalgia:The cause ofPolymyalgia Rheumaticais not known. However, it is believed that certain genes and gene variations may increase your risk of developingPolymyalgia Rheumatica. Environmental factors may also play a role in the development of the disorder. New cases ofPolymyalgia Rheumaticaare often diagnosed in cycles and usually occur seasonally. This suggests that there may be an environmental trigger, such as a viral infection, that causes the condition. The rapid onset of symptoms also suggests that thePolymyalgia Rheumaticacan be caused by an infection. However, none of these links were found..
Rheumatic Polymyalgia Diagnostics:Symptoms ofPolymyalgia Rheumaticamay be similar to those of other inflammatory diseases, including lupus and arthritis. To make an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will perform a physical examination and perform various tests to check for inflammation and blood abnormalities.
During the examination, your doctor may gently move your neck, arms, and legs to assess your range of motion. If thePolymyalgia Rheumaticais suspect, they may ask for blood tests to check for signs of inflammation in their body. These tests will measure your erythrocyte sedimentation rate and reactive protein levels. An abnormally high sedimentation rate and high levels of C-reactive protein are generally suggestive of inflammation..
Your doctor may also schedule an ultrasound to check for inflammation in your joints and tissues. An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create detailed images of soft tissue on different parts of the body. This can be very useful in distinguishingPolymyalgia Rheumaticaof other conditions that cause similar symptoms..
Since there is a link between thePolymyalgia Rheumaticaand temporal arteritis, your doctor may want to perform a biopsy. This biopsy is a simple, low-risk procedure that involves removing a small tissue sample from an artery in your temple. The sample is sent to a laboratory and analyzed for signs of inflammation. A biopsy is only necessary if your doctor suspects inflammation in the blood vessels.
Signs of temporal arteritis include:
- Persistent headaches
- Blurred or double vision
- Loss of vision
- Tenderness on the scalp
- Jaw pain
Rheumatic Polymyalgia Treatments:There is no cure forPolymyalgia Rheumatica. With proper treatment, however, symptoms may improve in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Your doctor will prescribe a low dose of corticosteroid, such as prednisone, to help reduce inflammation. The typical dosage is 10 to 30 milligrams per day. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are not effective in treatingPolymyalgia Rheumatica..
Although corticosteroids are effective in the treatment ofPolymyalgia Rheumatica, these medications have side effects. Prolonged use of these medicines increases your risk of:
- High pressure
- High cholesterol
- Weight gain
- Diabetes or high blood sugar levels
- Osteoporosis, which is loss of bone density
- Cataract, which is clouding the eye lens
To reduce the risk of side effects during treatment, your doctor may recommend taking a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement. Supplements are often recommended if you are taking corticosteroids for more than three months. Your doctor may also suggest physical therapy to help improve your strength and increase your range of motion..
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Making healthy lifestyle choices can also help reduce the side effects of corticosteroids. Eating a healthy diet and limiting salt intake can help prevent high blood pressure. Regular exercise can help strengthen your bones and muscles and prevent weight gain..
Your doctor will carefully monitor your health during treatment. They can periodically request blood tests to check their cholesterol and blood sugar levels, recommend annual eye examinations and schedule periodic bone density tests to osteoporosis. Your doctor may also reduce your dosage after three or four weeks of treatment if your symptoms are improving.
If your symptoms do not improve with the medication, thePolymyalgia Rheumaticamay not be the cause of your pain and stiffness. In this case, your doctor will perform additional tests to check for other rheumatic disorders, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatic fever.
Rheumatic Polymyalgia Complications:Symptoms ofPolymyalgia Rheumaticamay interfere with daily activities, especially if the condition is not treated. Without proper treatment, pain and stiffness can severely reduce mobility. You may eventually become unable to complete simple tasks on your own, such as bathing, dressing and combing your hair. Some people also experience a temporary loss of joint function. This increases the risk of developing persistent joint problems such as frozen shoulder..
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People withPolymyalgia Rheumaticaare also more likely to develop peripheral arterial disease. This condition impairs the blood circulation and often causes pain in the legs and ulcers..
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