Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Who It Affects
Statistics on polymyalgia rheumatica (and who it affects) show that white women over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk of developing this condition. The average age of onset for this condition is 70 years old. In addition, people with polymyalgia rheumatica are at risk of developing a condition called temporal arteritis. It is currently unclear how or why these conditions are related.
White women over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk of developing polymyalgia rheumatica. Women are twice as likely as men to develop this condition.
Polymyalgia rheumatica almost exclusively affects people over the age of 50. The average age at onset is 70 years old.
Polymyalgia rheumatica is quite common. In the United States, it is estimated that 700 out of every 100,000 people over 50 years of age develop this disorder.
It is unclear how or why polymyalgia rheumatica and temporal arteritis (also known as giant cell arteritis or cranial arteritis) are related, but an estimated 15 percent of people in the United States with polymyalgia rheumatica also develop temporal arteritis. Patients can develop temporal arteritis either at the same time as polymyalgia rheumatica or after the polymyalgia symptoms disappear.
When a person is diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica (see Diagnosing Polymyalgia Rheumatica), the doctor also should look for symptoms of temporal arteritis because of the risk of blindness that accompanies this illness. With proper treatment, temporal arteritis is not threatening. Untreated, however, temporal arteritis can lead to serious complications, including permanent vision loss and stroke.