Polymyalgia Rheumatica: Do You Have Symptoms Of This Condition?

If you're an elderly individual who suddenly experiences stiffness, pain, and inflammation in your buttocks, hips, or thighs, ask a rheumatologist about polymyalgia rheumatic. Polymyalgia rheumatic ( or PMR) is an inflammatory disease that typically affects aging adults. Although PMR is painful, you can treat it with a rheumatologist's help. Learn more about polymyalgia rheumatic and its treatments below.

What's Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

Like other types of rheumatic conditions, PMR can cause severe inflammation in the body's joints, bones, and organs. However, polymyalgia rheumatic may also trigger other symptoms in your body, including weight loss and fatigue. The symptoms can be short or ongoing, depending on where they develop in your body.

While it's not readily understood why PMR develops in some older adults, the disease generally occurs when the body's immune system turns on itself. The immune system may mistake the cells in your tissues as foreign or potentially harmful to your well-being. The aging process, environmental issues, and genetics may also be potential triggers for PMR.

PMR may potentially lead to other serious illnesses over time, including giant cell arteritis. Giant cell arteritis may cause damage to your body's arteries and other blood vessels. A rheumatologist can help you overcome the symptoms of PMR and avoid giant cell arteritis with the right treatments.

What Are the Treatments for Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

A rheumatologist may do a number of crucial things to treat your symptoms. However, a doctor must be certain you have PMR before they can move forward with your treatment. The examination may include checking your:

  • blood cells to see if they increased or show significant signs of infection
  • joints and bones to see if they show signs of arthritis, osteoporosis, or another common inflammatory condition
  • organs to see if they show signs of redness, swelling, bleeding, or another symptom

A rheumatologist may also check other key areas of your body for signs of PMR, including your shoulders, arms, neck, and back. PMR may also develop in these body areas as well. 

If a doctor diagnoses you with PMR, they may ask you to take steroid and nonsteroidal medications to fight the inflammation and/or infection in your tissues. If your condition improves, a physician will reduce the dosages of your medications over time. A rheumatology doctor will determine the full extent of your treatment after they assess your condition. 

Learn more about PMR and how to treat it by contacting a rheumatologist today, or visit a local rheumatology center, like Sarasota Arthritis Center.