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Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) – Inflammatory Arthritis

Many doctors consider Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) to be one of the most widespread inflammatory diseases in the United States. The exact cause of PMR is still not known, but research has indicated that both genetic and environmental factors may be involved.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica can be recognized by its characteristic symptoms; however, it can also be hard to diagnose or to differentiate from many other common inflammatory diseases. Inflammatory arthritis (IR), is a group of diseases that include chronic inflammation and stiffness. This is due to a variety of causes, including infection, injury, trauma, or tissue injury.

As with Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Inflammatory arthritis can occur at any age

This is usually characterized by

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness, and
  • Mobility limitations in joint and soft tissue

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) occurs more frequently in middle-aged adults. It is typically diagnosed in individuals who experience stiffness, inflammation, and pain in their joints and the surrounding tissues. Polymyalgia Rheumatica usually begins to show up in the late 20s or early 30s, and is sometimes referred to as “middle-age arthritis.”

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)

It often affects the elderly, although it can occur in young adults and in children. The majority of people diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica are between the ages of fifty and seventy. Inflammatory arthritis commonly leads to pain, swelling, redness, and mobility limitations in the joints and the surrounding tissues.

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Symptoms of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

In some cases, symptoms are so severe that a person may need to have their entire body immobilized. Polymyopathy is a term used to describe a range of inflammatory diseases including Polymyalgia Rheumatica and several others. Polymyopathy can cause many similar symptoms, including pain, swelling, redness, and stiffness.

The most common symptoms are

  • Stiffness
  • Pain
  • Inflammation, and
  • Swelling in the affected joints and soft tissue
  • In addition to pain and tenderness in muscles

There is currently no evidence that shows whether or not Polymyopathy is caused by rheumatoid arthritis. There is strong evidence that rheumatoid arthritis and Polymyopathy co-exist. Polymyopathy is most common among individuals who have an inherited susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis and is not apparent in individuals without this predisposition.

While a hereditary component cannot be ruled out, there is no clear evidence that individuals without a family history of rheumatoid arthritis are more prone to developing Polymyopathy. It appears that a person’s likelihood of developing Polymyopathy may be increased if they have an inherited propensity toward inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but that it is not passed down genetically.

What to do If you suspect that you may have inflammatory disease

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)

It is important to see your doctor to determine if you have any of the following symptoms

  • Unexplained pain in one or both joints of the hand or foot
  • Pain or tenderness in the upper body
  • Pain in the joints
  • Stiffness in the muscles and stiffness in the bones
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty walking
  • Increased muscle spasms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased urination
  • Fever, or weight loss.
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Other symptoms that may accompany Inflammatory Arthritis include

While not all of these symptoms are indicative of Polymyopathy, you should contact your doctor or health care provider if you experience any or all of these symptoms.

It is important to note that symptoms of Inflammatory Arthritis are very similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis, so it is important to see your doctor immediately if you have any of the above symptoms. A thorough medical evaluation will help your doctor determine if you are at risk for rheumatoid arthritis.

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