Document Type

Case Report


Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a systemic inflammatory disease of the elderly population that increases in incidence as age advances. It is characterised by the sudden or sub-acute onset of symptoms affecting the shoulder and pelvic girdles, often accompanied by constitutional symptoms. Due to the lack of consensual diagnostic criteria and specific laboratory or radiological investigations for PMR, its diagnosis can be very challenging, particularly because it can be mimicked or masked by other geriatric syndromes. PMR responds well to glucocorticoid treatment, but if left untreated, can lead to morbidity and poor quality of life. We present the case of an 87-year-old male who presented with a one-week history of localised pain in the left hip joint, later involving the contralateral hip. Previously able to ambulate unaided, his mobility was now severely impaired. Due to his Alzheimer's dementia and multiple comorbid geriatric conditions, extensive investigations were undertaken before a diagnosis of atypical PMR was reached. Treatment with a low dose of prednisolone led to a full recovery. This case highlights the inconsistency between an atypical presentation and the classic presentation of PMR and draws attention to the possibility of missed diagnosis in older, frail patients. Atypical symptomatology on top of cognitive impairment and language barriers can be easily overlooked and left untreated and could lead to severe adverse outcomes. Accurate diagnosis is crucial, as PMR is readily diagnosed, but the treatment with glucocorticoids, though generally straightforward, can pose challenges, particularly when dealing with polypharmacy and multiple coexisting health conditions.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

International medical case reports journal