Sunday, January 15, 2006

polymyalgia rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica is a condition found primarily in elderly women and is characterized by pain and stiffness in the proximal muscles, particularly in the upper limbs. There is usually an underlying systemic disorder with malaise, weight loss, anemia, and an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (erythrocyte sedimentation rate is how fast red blood cells settle in a test tube during a certain length of time.) In about 15 percent of cases there is an association with giant-cell arteritis. Treatment consists of daily doses of steroids. Improvement occurs within 72 hours but complete recovery of symptoms takes approximately a year.
See also ARTERITIS, GIANT CELL.
Brocklehurst, J. C. Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. New York: Churchhill Livingstone, 1985.

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