Polymyalgia Rheumatica is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the blood vessels in the muscles of the hips, neck, and shoulders. As such, it is considered to be in the Vasculitis family of diseases, which are characterized by the inflammation of blood vessels. These kinds of diseases can affect many parts of the body as they cause the blood vessels to narrow with inflammation and therefore restrict blood flow; this can cause severe damage all over the body.
Women are twice as likely to develop Polymyalgia Rhumatica as men and this disease tends to show itself after the age of fifty. The precise cause is unknown but hereditary links have been found and as it is not normally found in younger adults, it is thought to be connected to the process of aging.
The symptoms of Polymyalgia Rheumatica include intense stiffness and pain, usually at its peak in the morning or after long periods of immobility or sleep. This pain tends to be concentrated in the hips, neck, and shoulders. Other symptoms include discomfort, fever, depression, and weight loss; these symptoms may come on suddenly or over time. As a Vasculitis disease, any number of organs or body systems may be affected or damaged by the restricted blood flow.
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