Polymyalgia rheumatica: 125 years of epidemiological progress?

Patrick J. Rooney, Jennifer Rooney, G. Bálint, P. Bálint

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: On the 125th anniversary of the first recognised publication on polymyalgia rheumatica, a review of the literature was undertaken to assess what progress has been made from the point of view of the epidemiology of this disease and whether such studies have advanced our knowledge of its aetiopathogenesis and management.

METHODS: The authors searched Medline and PubMed using the search terms 'polymyalgia rheumatica', 'giant cell arteritis' and 'temporal arteritis'. As much as possible, efforts were made to focus on studies where polymyalgia and giant cell arteritis were treated as separate entities. The selection of articles was influenced by the authors' bias that polymyalgia rheumatica is a separate clinical condition from giant cell arteritis and that, as yet, the diagnosis is a clinical one.

RESULTS: This review has shown that, following the recognition of polymyalgia as a distinct clinical problem of the elderly, the results of a considerable amount of research efforts investigating the populations susceptible, the geographic distribution of these affected populations and the associated sociological and genetic elements that might contribute to its occurrence, polymyalgia rheumatica remains a difficult problem for the public health services of the developed world.

CONCLUSIONS: Polymyalgia rheumatica remains a clinical enigma and its relationship to giant cell arteritis is no clearer now than it has been for the past 125 years. Diagnosing this disease is still almost exclusively dependent on the clinical acumen of a patient's medical attendant. Until an objective method of identifying it clearly in the clinical setting is available, uncovering the aetiology is still unlikely. Until then, clear guidelines on the future incidence and prevalence of polymyalgia rheumatica and the public health problems of the disease and its management, especially in relation to the use of long term corticosteroids, will be difficult to provide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-57
Number of pages8
JournalScottish Medical Journal
Volume60
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2015

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Polymyalgia Rheumatica
Giant Cell Arteritis
United States Public Health Service
Anniversaries and Special Events
Disease Management
PubMed
Publications
Adrenal Cortex Hormones
Epidemiology
Public Health
Demography
Guidelines
Incidence
Research
Population

Keywords

  • corticosteroid use
  • epidemiology
  • giant cell (temporal) arteritis
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Scandinavian and Viking influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Polymyalgia rheumatica : 125 years of epidemiological progress? / Rooney, Patrick J.; Rooney, Jennifer; Bálint, G.; Bálint, P.

In: Scottish Medical Journal, Vol. 60, No. 1, 01.02.2015, p. 50-57.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rooney, Patrick J. ; Rooney, Jennifer ; Bálint, G. ; Bálint, P. / Polymyalgia rheumatica : 125 years of epidemiological progress?. In: Scottish Medical Journal. 2015 ; Vol. 60, No. 1. pp. 50-57.
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