In rare cases, giant cell arteritis can affect the main part of the aorta in the chest, rather than one of its smaller branches, causing an aortic aneurysm . If this were to happen, you would feel severe chest pain that could extend to your back, and you could faint or have symptoms of a stroke . If you have giant cell arteritis and have such symptoms, contact your doctor or call immediately . Though rare, such an event may be life-threatening. Your doctor may recommend that you have an annual chest X-ray to watch for an aortic aneurysm.
PMR is very treatable. The only drug which is known to be a consistently effective therapy is prednisone (or another corticosteroid of the same family), which works by decreasing inflammation. Methotrexate, a medication commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and some other rheumatic diseases, has been used to reduce disease flares, but is not of certain benefit. Blood tests — including the erythrocyte sedimentation rate or C-reactive protein — will be done every few weeks to months to determine if the inflammation is still active. Most people require about 3 years of treatment, but duration varies widely.
Polymyalgia rheumatic (PMR) is a chronic inflammatory disease of unknown aetiology which presnts with pain and stiffness that is worst in the morning and particularly affects the shoulders and hips (1,2).