Polymyalgia Rheumatica - Symptoms

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The symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

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What are symptoms and signs of polymyalgia rheumatica?

The onset of the illness can be sudden. A patient may have a healthy history until awakening one morning with stiffness and pain of muscles and joints throughout the body. These pains can lead to a sensation of weakness and loss of function. Sometimes there is also muscle tenderness. These symptoms persist and are often accompanied by an intense sensation of fatigue. Some patients notice a gradual loss of appetite, weight, and energy. Depression can occur.

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Comment from: ziggie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 16

My polymyalgia rheumatica came on very suddenly. I went to bed very healthy; by 3 AM I had a very severe pain in my right side. I screamed with pain every time I moved or tried to move. The emergency room couldn't diagnose me, this was over Memorial Day so I had a weekend of unspeakable pain. It left my right side and went to my entire left side in one day including my head and both feet. I couldn't walk without two people helping me. I finally gave in and called an ambulance for myself and went back to the emergency room. There was an older doctor there who said there was only one more test to run. My sedimentation rate came back very high. He gave me a shot of cortisone and a prescription for steroids and sent me to a nursing home. After 5 days on steroids I felt wonderful. But when I was discharged without steroids, the pain returned, especially in my feet. I went to see my family doctor who started me on 20mg of steroids in the morning and 20 in the evening. I felt so good. We've been reducing the drugs and my sedimentation rate continues to be low. I'm down to 5mg a day and will be reduced again on 1/31/14. I am 71 years old and was in perfect health. Side effects of the steroids are awful, balloon face, weight gain, always hungry. I'm told it usually doesn't return. I hope it doesn't.

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Comment from: oldsprinter, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 14

My polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) started in the spring of 2008 with a stiffening neck and then every 2 to 3 weeks it would seem to include another set of muscles. By November I could hardly get out of bed and could not get dressed as it hit my left hand. I had been taking aspirin, ibuprofen, and Tylenol but they do next to nothing. At that time the doctor prescribed prednisone, 50 mg, within about 5 hours I felt almost normal. I was able to reduce that within weeks to 20 mg and now about 3 mg. I find I must be careful about tapering and try to go in 1/4s at this time. It is now spring 2014 and PMR is still with me.

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