Just Diagnosed With Polymyalgia Rheumatica And Ta At Age 45

I was just diagnosed yesterday with PMR and it was spot on. I went to a RA doctor for terrible shoulder, lower back and hip pain thinking I had RA. It all came on in a matter of days a few months ago after building a brick wall by my pool. I kept thinking it would go away and it was caused by my lifting and bending, but it never did. It became so bad I couldn't get out of bed which forced me to go to my family Dr.
He had no diagnosis but started me on 20mg prednisone which made me feel like a new man and did a battery of blood tests that came back all normal except for my SED rate. I kept hounding them to make an appointment with the RA Dr because if i went 2 days without prednisone it came right back.
I thank god I forced them to do it because I also have (for at least 3 years) TA. I can trace back at least 3 years that I had most of the symptoms for TA (tender scalp, daily headaches, sometimes blurred vision and sore jaw if I chewed for a long period of time) I assume since it wasn't treated when it first started, I contracted Polymyalgia.
I've never lost any vision in my eyes, but about the same time 3 years ago when the symptoms were onset, I switched eye dr's and he could not believe how bad my RX was off since the last time I had it checked. He basically told me that my former eye Dr didn't know what he was doing. After my diagnosis yesterday, everything in the last few years now make sense. I just hope starting treatment now prevents loss of vision.
smittyjf smittyjf
2 Responses Jan 15, 2013

Hi, Smitty,
I am so sorry for what you are having to go through--PMR/GCA is a real bear of a diagnosis. I was diagnosed in April 2011 (at 51) with both and have been struggling ever since. The prednisone will prevent vision loss until you get to the levels around 6mg and below--my doctor says--then you have to be on guard for flare-ups. Always take the prednisone according to plan or you could lose your eyesight. I am also on the Inspire website and several of the friends there have lost vision in one eye because they tried to come down off the pred. too fast. For me, everytime I get to 5.5mg, the double vision comes back with the jaw claudication. I have been at 6mg since last July and have resigned myself that "it just is" and I am thankful for my morning dose that helps me to get up and move. I see my eye doc. about 3-4 times per year and he told me that it would be best to stay on at least 5mg for 8-10 years or even life because he has seen several of his GCA patients stop the pred. and become blind in less than six months time. This doc. is very knowledgeable and kind and I take his word seriously. Warmest wishes for "better" days and inner strength......

Hang in there, smitty! I'm so glad you were firm with your Dr. and got in in time. Staying positive for you.