Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a common condition in older Americans that can cause severe muscle pain and stiffness. Natalie MacLean, MD, is an experienced rheumatologist at Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology with advanced training in treating conditions that affect the muscles, bones, and joints. If you’re experiencing symptoms that might be polymyalgia rheumatica, call Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology in Encinitas, California, or schedule an appointment online today.
Polymyalgia rheumatica is an autoimmune disease that causes muscle pain and stiffness. This commonly occurring inflammatory disorder usually develops quickly and most commonly affects the shoulders.
The majority of people who have polymyalgia rheumatica are older than 65.
Polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms usually affect both sides of your body and often include:
Some people with polymyalgia rheumatica also experience a general feeling of being unwell, as well as fatigue, fever, and unexplained weight loss.
The symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica can not only disrupt your sleep, but also interfere with your daily activities, including simple things like getting dressed.
The exact cause of polymyalgia rheumatica isn’t known, but it’s generally associated with certain genes and environmental triggers.
Additional factors that can increase your risk of polymyalgia rheumatica include being a woman and being between 70-80 years of age. Your chances of developing polymyalgia rheumatica also increase if you’re of northern European or Scandinavian descent.
When left untreated, polymyalgia rheumatica can significantly impact your everyday life, including your physical activity, social interactions, and general well-being. Polymyalgia rheumatica can also increase your risk of developing peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a condition that reduces blood flow to your extremities.
Dr. MacLean takes a comprehensive approach to diagnosing rheumatic diseases like polymyalgia rheumatica. During your physical exam, she performs neurological and joint exams to help identify the cause of your stiffness and pain. Dr. MacLean might also recommend a complete blood count to look for signs of inflammation, and digital imaging tests like ultrasounds or MRIs to see if you have any underlying conditions.
Based on your diagnosis, Dr. MacLean works closely with you to develop a comprehensive approach to managing your symptoms. Treating polymyalgia rheumatica often includes oral corticosteroids and immunosuppression to control your inflammation.
Throughout your polymyalgia rheumatica treatment, Dr. MacLean closely monitors your condition to watch for potential side effects, such as weight gain, osteoporosis, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Dr. MacLean might also recommend daily vitamin and calcium supplements to reduce your risk of bone loss.
To learn more about polymyalgia rheumatica, call Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology or schedule an appointment online today.