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Polymyalgia rheumatica

Polymyalgia is an inflammatory rheumatic condition.

Its onset is usually after the age of 60 affecting women slightly more than men. It is more prevalent in caucasians and it is rare amongst Africans and Afro-Caribbeans.

This condition affects around 4 per 1000 people over the age of 50. The usual onset is after age 60, and both men and women are affected, women slightly more than men. Symptoms can start abruptly, or they can come on over a week or two. It’s common in Caucasians and rare in Asians and Afro-Caribbeans.

Causes of PMR

Its causes remain unknown, but it is an inflammation that irritates muscles.

Symptoms of PMR

Morning stiffness and aching around muscles are its initial symptoms and the pain is not alleviated by non-steroidal anti inflammatories.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica can also manifest as an inflammatory condition of the temporal artery of the head (temporal or giant cell arteritis), which if not treated with steroids can lead to blindness.

Diagnosis of PMR

This is done by blood tests both the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and or the C-reactive protein (CRP) test which when elevated gives a broad indication of the amount of inflammation going on in the body.

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