New symptoms... PMR or GCA?: I have had PMR for... - PMRGCAuk


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New symptoms... PMR or GCA?

PamJCam profile image
7 Replies

I have had PMR for about 2 and a half years. In the last 6-8 weeks I have had several 'episodes' where I get a very sore feeling in my throat/chest like really bad heartburn, then a pain goes across my shoulders and down both arms to my elbows and hands, really a lot of pain for a few minutes and then it subsides....sometimes I get a pain in my jaw but not was worse in the beginning but now not as bad.... but happens quite often but not every day...but often when I get out of the car! I have also in the last week or so been suffering with light headedness which doesn't want to go away...I do feel that might be all the drugs I am taking... I also have a problem with one eye that I have had for a year or more which I had checked by an ophthalmologist and he said was ok apart from 'floaters' which is normal for my age (65) I saw my doctor last week and mentioned all this...he has me booked in for an ECG and blood pressure check tomorrow.... I don't have headaches or pain in my temples.... so could this be GCA? The doctor didn't mention GCA.... I am taking Prednisolone down to 13mg at the moment and omeprazole 20mg daily.... oh yes and I have osteoporosis! Taking Aledronic acid and calcium supplement for this... I rattle pretty well! I felt fine and was doing lots of swimming in the summer until mid August when all this started and now I feel so tired all the time.... climbing three flights of stairs yesterday brought an episode on...felt terrible for about five minutes and then it goes....but left very tired... :(

7 Replies
PMRpro profile image

The next time you have an "episode", irrespective of what the GP finds tomorrow, please dial 999 and tell them you have chest pain and the rest of the symptoms. The paramedics have an ECG machine and stand a better change of getting a trace while something is going on.

What you are describing is the sort of symptoms I had for several years but no-one could find anything with isolated ECGs and BP checks. One GP did suggest calling 999 but I never did. Eventually something triggered a major atrial fibrillation episode and it was investigated and treated medically. That was when I realised that that was what had been causing the episodes over the years.

The cardiologist is confident the arrythmia is due to the autoimmune part of PMR having damaged the electrical cells in the heart - leading to what is called paroxysmal a/f. It was stable until about 18 months ago when it seems to have got worse and as well as the periods of very fast heart rate I was then having very slow episodes - and that was what made me feel dizzy. They often happened after walking up a steep slope or stairs. I now have a pacemaker.

PamJCam profile image
PamJCam in reply to PMRpro

Thanks for the information...scary though it is! I had my ECG this week and it was normal... but I understand there might be something underlying, waiting for an appointment to see a specialist once I have a referral from my doctor.

PMRpro profile image
PMRproAmbassador in reply to PamJCam

A one-off ECG is useless in paroxysmal atrial fibrillation - between episodes it will show nothing. Which is why it is always worth calling 999 when you have one, there is a far better chance of getting the evidence.

SnazzyD profile image

I agree with PMRPro, if it is intermittent cardiac episodes, it needs to be caught in the act in case it is something that doesn’t leave a ‘trail’ on an ECG after the event.

Fireleigh profile image

I agree with PMR pro. Dial 999.

Those symptoms are not PMR.

Tonylynn profile image

My wife has GCA and then started feeling dizzy at times and her pulse was erratic. Was fine when we went to GP and ECG was OK.

We then purchased a KardiMobile EKG (£99.00) which takes an ECG and sends to mobile phone... and then on to computer etc.

ECG trace showed abnormal pulse and we sent traces to GP who agreed referral to cardiology. Went private as minimum two months wait and had 24hour ecg couple of days later. (Cardiologist was very impressed with Kardia traces).

My wife had a pacemaker fitted week later. Heart block in her case. Cardiologist says not related to GCA (which started 3 years ago) but I am yet to be convinced.

PMRpro profile image
PMRproAmbassador in reply to Tonylynn

Hmm - if one cause of congential heart block can be lupus crossing the placental barrier then I'm sure the autoimmune part of GCA can do it in the same body!!!

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