3 Common Polymyalgia Symptoms

Most autoimmune disorders, especially polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), are characterized by swelling or inflammation of blood vessels. Learn how to tell if the symptoms you are experiencing are signs of PMR.

Most autoimmune disorders, especially PMR, are characterized by swelling or inflammation of blood vessels. How do you know if your symptoms are indications of PMR?

The first symptom of polymyalgia rheumatica may be felt for a week up to two weeks and may also appear sometimes after a flu-like illness. Symptoms such as pain may happen suddenly and persist over a period of time.

Pain and Stiffness

Symptoms of PMR include moderate to severe pain and stiffness in the muscles of the shoulders, neck, and hips experienced in the morning or after sleeping. Usually, the patient has a low-grade fever, anemia, fatigue and lack of appetite and a general feeling of being sick.

Pain is concentrated mainly on your shoulders and thighs as well as on both sides of the body. The ache that you feel is different from the pains you experience after an exercise. The pain or stiffness may also be widespread and gets worse when resting. The pain tapers off only after an activity or as the day passes by. However, PMR symptoms may also be felt at night and while sleeping at a severity which can wake you up.

Weight Loss

People with PMR may also lose a lot of weight because of a lack of appetite, and feeling low, depressed or anxious.

Temporal Arteritis

Shoulder and hip pain are signs of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR).

People with polymyalgia rheumatica also suffer from temporal arteritis or the inflammation of blood vessels particularly in the face. Temporal arteritis may cause blindness when not treated immediately.

The pain is usually caused by the inflammation of the blood vessels or by giant cell temporal arteritis.  However, only a small percentage of people with polymyalgia rheumatica has GCA but a half of patients with GCA has polymyalgia rheumatica.

Temporal arteritis symptoms are scalp tenderness, headache, fatigue, pain in limbs due to decreased blood flow, facial soreness and distorted vision.

Who Are at Risk?

PMR symptoms usually appear in adults who are more than 60 years. The average age of persons suffering from PMR symptoms is 70.

Women are said to be more likely to manifest PMR symptoms that men when they reach 60 years. Caucasians or northern Europeans are most likely to suffer from this disease.

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