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A clinical syndrome characterised by pain and stiffness in the muscles of the pelvic and shoulder girdle associated with the development of giant cell (temporal) arteritis.
Common, affecting up to 1 in 150.
Rare under 50 years.
2F : 1M
A history of polymyalgia rheumatica is present in 50% of patients with giant cell arteritis, 15% of patients with polymyalgia rheumatica will develop giant cell arteritis. The conditions may occur separately.
Gradual onset of pain, stiffness and perceived symmetrical weakness in shoulder neck and pelvic girdle. Systemic malaise, anorexia and weight loss may occur. Although fevers occur they are not as severe or swinging as seen in giant cell (temporal arteritis).
The diagnosis is made clinically. There are very high inflammatory markers including ESR and CRP. There may be anaemia of chronic disease.
Moderate dose prednisolone is used, and the therapy is monitored and tailored to the response of inflammatory markers. Generally treatment is required for 9‚Äď15 months, and prophylaxis against osteoporosis is essential.
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