ZocdocAnswersCan Polymyalgia Rheumatica lead to further complications?

Question

Can Polymyalgia Rheumatica lead to further complications?

Is surgery required? Several people in my family have this and I'm worried about treatment as I get older.

Answer

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR for short) is an inflammatory disease that causes pain that typically occurs in the neck, shoulders, and hips. It typically occurs in older patients with the average age of onset being about 70 with very few patients ever under the age of 60. The diagnosis of PMR is done by a physician that recognizes that pattern of pain and orders a blood test for the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and the C-reactive protein (CRP) both of which are elevated. No surgery is required for treatment of PMR. The treatment of this disease is prednisone which works very well. In fact, prednisone is so effective at treating PMR, that if a patient does not get better, then the diagnosis is likely something else. Since you have a strong family history of this disorder, you should definitely watch out for the symptoms as you approach age 60 and beyond. The type of doctor that you would want to schedule an appointment with is a rheumatologist. This is a specialist who has done extra training in inflammatory diseases such as PMR. They will know what type of diagnostic tests should be ordered and what treatments will be best in your situation. Good luck.

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