Blood Test for PMR - Is it different from that for GCA?

I have had GCA since Jan 2013 and have regular blood tests. Would they show if I had PMR? What should I look for? Over the ;ast few months I have become increasingly less mobile with muscle pain and weakness in my legs. My balance is not good, either.

I am down to 11mg Prednisolone, just about to tp 10.5 mg by the slow method.

I have been on Alendronic Acid for the past year and have just stopped this to see if my problems are side-effect of this, but it will be two or three months before it is out of the system (according to my GP).

2 Replies

  • There is no blood test specifically for PMR: it is a clinical diagnosis which means it is made from the symptoms and clinical history with some blood tests added in. 80% of patients who have PMR will have raised blood tests called ESR and CRP. ESR is the speed the red blood cells sink to the bottom of a special tube set up vertically and CRP is a specific protein in your blood which increases when there is inflammation present. The ESR also increases but can be increased even if you have a bad cold or flu. Once you are taking pred these tests fall unless you are taking too low a dose - and the GP should have been checking for that since you started. These are also tests that are done in GCA patients - exactly the same applies for it in terms of symptoms and tests as the causes of both are similar and PMR can be a symptom of GCA. As long as you were on about 15mg pred or above that should comfortably control any PMR type symptoms though not the ones more specific to GCA.

    Are you also on a statin for high cholesterol? That is a very common cause of the symptoms you are complaining about (whatever some doctors try to tell us). Taking a statin had a very speedy effect on me, within 10 days I could barely walk, but it sometimes takes longer to appear as the effect is less severe. Or what other medications did you start taking soon before these symptoms started? The are associated with a few of the medications commonly used in PMR.

  • Like PMRpro, I also had similar side effects from statins ( before I got PMR)-severely aching muscles in legs etc., which went as soon as I stopped taking them.

    I stopped taking the Alendronic Acid 3 weeks ago now and have improved steadily since then. I still have the fatigue of PMR and sore knees, but my hips have stopped hurting all the time and my legs only ache intermittently. I am now getting back to being able to walk a mile a day and do some swimming classes too.I do think the AA was making things worse.

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