Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis - Symptoms
polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) often occur suddenly and
get worse without treatment. Typical polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms
include pain and morning stiffness in the:
- Pelvic and hip
These symptoms are caused by
inflammation of joints,
bursae of the hip and shoulder regions. The pain
affects both sides of the body. For example, both shoulders will usually be
painful, not just one. Usually, both the shoulder and hip areas are
Other symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica may
- Feeling tired and having no energy or
- Weight loss.
- Swelling of the
knees, wrists, or ankles.
Giant cell arteritis
giant cell arteritis (GCA) can develop gradually or
suddenly. They require immediate treatment.
Symptoms of giant
cell arteritis may include:
- Headache, often near the temple or around the
eye (temporal headache). Headaches are a symptom for most people who are
examined for giant cell arteritis. The headache may begin as a dull, throbbing
pain on one side of the head around the eye or near the temple. Sometimes the
pain may feel like a stabbing or burning sensation.
problems. These problems may come on quickly and be temporary, but
sometimes they do not go away. Examples include:
- Brief loss of vision or partial loss. This can last seconds to minutes.
- Blurry or double
- Patches of poor vision surrounded by
- Decreased sharpness (acuity) of vision or
- Tenderness on the side of the head (temple)
or scalp. The
blood vessel on the temple may also look swollen and its pulse may be
decreased or absent. You may notice tenderness when you wear your glasses or
comb your hair.
- Pain, aching, weakness, or cramping (claudication)
of the tongue or jaw, especially when you chew food or talk for long periods of
Other uncommon symptoms of giant cell arteritis may
include cough, hoarseness, chest pain, and arm weakness or cramps.
Some people with giant cell arteritis do not have the typical symptoms of
headache, jaw pain, and vision problems. About half of people with giant cell
arteritis will also have symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica.1
Untreated giant cell arteritis can cause
narrowing (constriction) of some of the
arteries in the skull or head , reducing blood flow. As a result, a person with
untreated giant cell arteritis is at greater risk of blindness,
stroke, or mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs).