Wissenswertes

Recognising symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica

Recognising symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica causes pain and stiffness in several muscles and joints. The word “Myalgia” comes from the Greek word for “muscle pain.”

The signs and symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica usually occur on both sides of the body and may often start with aches or pains in shoulders, but aches or pains in neck, upper arms, buttocks, hips or thighs are also possible. Less common but also possible are pains or stiffness in wrists, elbows or knees. The affected areas are characterized by stiffness specially in the morning or after being inactive for a long time. Further, a limited range of motion is given in the affected body parts. Besides, there are some general signs and symptoms, which must be watched out such as mild fever, fatigue, a general feeling of not being well, loss of appetite, unintended weight loss and depression. Special attention should be given to new pains, aches and stiffness that have recently started and are even disrupting your sleep. If you are experiencing the above mentioned symptoms or if you are feeling pain while doing daily activities such as shaving, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, bathing, combing your hair, putting on a coat, getting out of the car, standing up from a chair or getting out of bed, it is highly advisable to contact your house doctor, who will then refer you to a rhemutatologist (a specialist in inflammatory disorders of muscles and the skeletal system). In any case, it is highly recommended to consult the doctor since these difficulties can affect your health, social interactions, physical activity, sleep and general well-being. Besides, Polymyalgia rheumatica often causes peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Peripheral arterial disease is an illness characterized by a narrowing of the peripheral arteries to the legs, stomach, arms, and head. It appears most commonly in the arteries of the legs. The most common symptoms of PAD involving the lower extremities are cramping, pain or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles while walking or climbing stairs. In general, this pain goes away with rest and returns when you walk again. If left unreated PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation and often represents a higher risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack or stroke.

In any case and before visiting a doctor it is important to pay special attention to issues such as the area where the pain or stiffness is located, the period of time when the symptoms started and if they get worse in certain times of day and night, the duration of stiffness after waking up or after a long period of inactivity, and if you have had and treated similar situations in the past. Further symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica include severe headaches, changes in your vision and jaw pain. Please inform your doctor if you are taking vitamins, supplements or special medication against other diseases.