Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by muscle stiffness and pain, primarily affecting the neck, shoulders, and hips.  These symptoms can develop rapidly, at times overnight,  and are typically worse in the mornings and after periods of inactivity.  

Other symptoms can include fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and low-grade fever. PMR typically occurs after age 50 and is slightly more common in women.  The cause of PMR is unknown.

PMR shares similarities with another condition called giant cell arteritis (GCA), which causes inflammation of the blood vessels, particularly the arteries in the head and neck.  Sometimes, these conditions can occur together.  The most common symptom of GCA is a new headache, typically in the temples.  Other symptoms can include pain in the scalp pain, jaw discomfort, unexplained weight loss, and vision changes.

Diagnosing PMR and GCA involves thoroughly reviewing symptoms, physical exams, and blood tests.  If there is a suspicion of GCA, additional tests may be necessary, as if left untreated can cause serious health consequences.


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