How Do I Recognize Polymyalgia Rheumatica Symptoms?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 22 July 2019
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Polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms include soreness in the shoulders, hips, and mid back. These and other signs of the disorder aren’t necessarily enough to prove the illness’ presence. Understanding that the condition occurs in specific populations and is frequently accompanied by another illness called giant cell arteritis can help people determine whether they might have this disease.

When the disease begins, the most common polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms are pain, soreness and stiffness in the shoulders. Neck pain typically follows shoulder stiffness. Individuals may also begin to feel discomfort and muscle tension in the midsection, the hips, the thighs, the rear, and the lower back. These areas can be difficult to move, particularly after lying down, holding the same position, or sitting for lengthy periods. Many people with this inflammatory condition start to lose some range of motion in the areas that are painfully affected.

Some other indicators of polymyalgia arteritis are periods of fever, development of depression, and tiredness. Individuals might report that they feel generally ill most of the time. They could also have a reduced appetite, which can cause unplanned weight loss. Additionally, patients could develop pain in their arms and wrists, which may be accompanied by a reduction in range of motion.


These symptoms may only represent the illness if they occur in specific populations. Most importantly, the average age of people who develop polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms is 70. This condition is very unlikely to occur in people under the age of 65, and it has not been observed in any individuals younger than 50. If a person is younger than 60, there is a strong possibility that any seeming polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms don’t really represent the disease.

Moreover, there is minimal likelihood of the illness manifesting in people who are not at least partially of northern European descent. Patients with Scandinavian heritage seem most likely to get the condition. This means that what appear to be polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms in a person of pure Latino, Asian or African descent usually don’t suggest the disorder.

Another risk factor to evaluate is the presence of giant cell arteritis. About 60% of people with this condition get polymyalgia rheumatica, and the two illnesses are thought to possibly be genetic variants of each other. Patients who already have polymyalgia rheumatica have about a 20% chance of developing this additional disease. Giant cell arteritis has symptoms like headache, blurred vision, and jaw pain, and its presence could be an indicator that polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms truly represent the illness.



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