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POLYMYALGIA -V- FIBROMYALGIA – OR COULD YOU HAVE BOTH?…

Both polymyalgia and fibromyalgia may cause depression related to living with a painful chronic condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, older adults, usually over age 65, are more likely to be diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica. It’s rare in people under age 50, but anyone can get #fibromyalgia at any age. But it tends to be more common in women than in men.

It is possible for a person to have both polymyalgia and fibromyalgia. Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory form of arthritis,   that’s believed to be autoimmune, meaning that the body is attacking its own healthy tissues because it mistakes them for infectious agents such as viruses or bacteria. Fibromyalgia does not show traditional signs of inflammation, though some recent research from 2017 suggests it may also involve inflammation.

Blood tests can usually diagnose polymyalgia, however, no single test can determine if a person has fibromyalgia, instead a physical exam that looks for specific tender points may be used. A doctor may also take blood samples to rule out inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. 

Because of their surface similarities, it’s possible for polymgaliga rheumatica to be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia or vice versa, or for either condition to be overlooked in someone who’s already diagnosed with one of the other.

Very Well Health points out that ‘ these two conditions, however, are very different and require different treatments. Knowing the symptoms of both can help you recognize whether you may have a new or undiagnosed condition that needs to be addressed.’

However, apart from their name and main symptom, fibromyalgia and polymyalgia have little in common. Even the muscle pain might be slightly different — some experts suggest polymyalgia muscle pain doesn’t include the tenderness you may experience with fibromyalgia muscle pain.

Treatment for polymyalgia is prescription corticosteroids, ith medication, you may see a major improvement in your polymyalgia symptoms in just a few days. If after two to three weeks on the medication you don’t get better, it’s likely you don’t have polymyalgia but another condition.

The main difference is that polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory condition, and fibromyalgia is a non-inflammatory condition. Because of this, polymyalgia rheumatica responds to treatment with anti-inflammatory medications. Whereas fibromyalgia is a non-inflammatory condition caused by the nervous system that results in pain and is associated with fatigue, ‘brain fog’ and sleep problems and responds to a different set of medications.

I am a twin and my twin sister was diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica, whereas I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia but many years apart,  but we both feel this is also quite strange.

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POLYMYALGIA OR FIBROMYALGIA, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?…

I have written an article before on #backpainbloguk about Polymyalgia Rheumatica which my sister was diagnosed with a few years ago but both Polymyalgia Rheumatica and #fibromyalgia keep popping up together so I decided to look into what the difference in between these two conditions.

Healthline wrote an article on this about the similarity with some of the symptoms.

When you have Polymyalgia Rheumatica you feel pain and stiffness in the muscles in your shoulders and upper arms (shoulder girdle) and hips (pelvic girdle). This feeling often comes after you’ve spent time resting, and is most severe upon awakening from sleep.

#Fibromyalgia can also cause muscle pain in the same parts of the body. But it’s more wide-spread and the pain is more severe. People with #fibromyalgia tend to experience other symptoms as well, which include tiredness, trouble sleeping, memory problems, bowel and bladder problems.

Both polymyalgia and fibromyalgia may cause depression related to living with a painful chronic condition.

According to the Mayo Clinic, older adults, usually over age 65, are more likely to be diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica. It’s rare in people under age 50, but anyone can get #fibromyalgia at any age. But it tends to be more common in women than in men.

It is possible for a person to have both Polymyalgia and fibromyalgia. Polymyalgia Rheumatica is an inflammatory form of arthritis. Fibromyalgia does not show traditional signs of inflammation, though some recent research from 2017 suggests it may also involve inflammation.

Blood tests can usually diagnose Polymyalgia, however, no single test can determine if a person has fibromyalgia, instead a physical exam that looks for specific tender points may be used. A doctor may also take blood samples to rule out inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. 

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WHAT IS POLYMYALGIA RHEUMATICA & GIANT CELL ARTHRITIS?…

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory condition that causes many painful muscles (poly= many, myalgia = muscle pain). Any muscles can be affected, but it mainly affects the muscles of the shoulder and thigh.

PMR can start at any age from 50 but mainly affects people over the age of 60. Women are affected 2–3 times as often as men and it affects about 1 in 2,000 people.

If you have polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) you’ll usually have severe and painful stiffness, which is often worse in the morning, especially in your shoulders and thighs and usually affecting both sides. PMR often strikes suddenly, appearing over a week or two and sometimes just after a flu-like illness.

The symptoms are quite different from the ache you may feel after exercise. The pain and stiffness is often widespread, is worse when resting and improves with activity or as the day goes on. However, it may also wake you at night.

Other symptoms include:

  • feeling unwell
  • a slight fever
  • weight loss
  • overwhelming tiredness
  • feeling low, anxious or depressed.

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is sometimes associated with painful inflammation of the arteries of the skull. This is called giant cell arteritis (GCA) or temporal arteritis and needs prompt treatment as there’s a risk of damage to the arteries of the eyes. About 20% of people with PMR also develop GCA, while 40–60% of people with GCA also have symptoms of PMR.

The symptoms of GCA are:

  • severe headaches and pain in the muscles of your head
  • tenderness at your temples
  • pain in your jaw, tongue or the side of your face when chewing
  • pain or swelling in your scalp
  • blurred or double vision

My twin sister was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis in her early 40’s and had he thymus glad removed then given immunotherapy treatment and thankfully, it is now in remission but a few years ago she was also diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica. I would love to find out what and if there are any connections between all these conditions with me also suffering from Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome. It seems odd that both of us have suffered from these sort of conditions. Unfortunately, our Mum died in her early 50’s due to a heart condition and the only other condition she suffered from was Fibrositis which is what Fibromyalgia was called back in that day.

Does anyone else have it in their families?