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There are over 200 types of rheumatic disease and over nine million people in the UK have some form of arthritis. Arthritis means inflammation of the joints. Most people with arthritis will experience pain and some difficulty in moving around.

Arthritis affects people of all ages, including children. It is not clear what causes it and there is no cure at present. However, treatment can largely alleviate the symptoms and enable people to continue to live an active life, although some modifications may be necessary.

Rheumatic Conditions FAQs

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Polymyalgia rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory condition which involves many (poly) painful muscles (myalgia). It affects the muscles in and around the shoulder and upper arm areas, buttocks and thighs. The cause of PMR is unknown. It usually starts very suddenly with stiffness in the muscles – particularly in the mornings. Joints are not usually involved although some people might have inflammation in the shoulder, hip or wrist joints. PMR can be linked to other conditions such as temporal arteritis or giant cell arteritis in which the arteries supplying the head and neck may be involved. This can lead to headaches and possible loss of vision and prompt treatment should be sought if these symptoms develop. Some people will also lose their appetite and lose weight.

PMR usually responds very well to treatment so you should be able to carry on with normal life within a day or two. Your doctor will prescribe you steroids which you will need to take for 1-3 years.