Can You Die From Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

While polymyalgia rheumatica can cause significant pain and stiffness, it’s generally not life-threatening; however, complications like giant cell arteritis could pose serious risks, leading some to wonder, “can you die from polymyalgia rheumatica?”

Can You Die From Polymyalgia Rheumatica
Natalie Smith

Written By
Natalie Smith

Published On
May 2, 2024

Disclaimer: This article has been generated with the assistance of AI tools. While our research team has fact-checked the content, readers should independently verify information for accuracy and reliability.

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the muscles, especially in the shoulders and hips. It primarily affects people over the age of 50 and is more common in women than men. If you’ve been diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica, you might wonder if it can be life-threatening. This article explores whether PMR can cause death and discusses common complications, symptoms, and treatment options.

What is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

Symptoms of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory condition that typically affects people over 50 years old. It is characterized by pain and stiffness in the shoulders, hips, neck, and upper arms. The exact cause of PMR is unknown, but it’s believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental, can you die from Polymyalgia Rheumatica? Let’s find out.

Symptoms of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

The key symptoms of PMR include:

  • Pain and stiffness: Primarily in the shoulders, hips, and neck, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired or lacking energy.
  • Weight loss: In some cases, people with PMR experience unintended weight loss.
  • Fever: A mild fever may be associated with PMR.
  • Limited range of motion: Stiffness can restrict movement, impacting daily activities.

Can You Die From Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

Polymyalgia rheumatica itself is generally not considered a life-threatening condition. However, complications arising from PMR or related conditions can pose serious risks. One of the most significant complications is giant cell arteritis (GCA), a condition where the arteries, especially in the head, become inflamed. According to the Mayo Clinic, GCA can lead to severe complications like vision loss, stroke, or aneurysm if not treated promptly.

Complications and Risks

Although PMR is not typically fatal, the complications associated with it can be serious. If you have symptoms of PMR, it’s important to seek medical attention to rule out giant cell arteritis. Symptoms of GCA include severe headaches, jaw pain, vision problems, and scalp tenderness.

Treatment for Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Treatment for PMR usually involves corticosteroids like prednisone. These medications help reduce inflammation and relieve pain and stiffness. The treatment plan typically starts with a high dose of corticosteroids, which is gradually reduced over time. Some people may need to continue low-dose steroids for months or even years to manage symptoms.

Managing Polymyalgia Rheumatica

In addition to medication, lifestyle changes can help manage PMR. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper rest can contribute to overall well-being and help reduce symptoms. It’s also important to have regular check-ins with your healthcare provider to monitor your condition and adjust treatment as needed. Applying pain relieving creams can help you to alleviate the pain to somewhat an extent.


While polymyalgia rheumatica itself is not usually fatal, complications like giant cell arteritis can pose significant risks. Early detection and treatment are crucial to prevent severe complications. If you suspect you have PMR or are experiencing symptoms, consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


  1. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Polymyalgia Rheumatica.
  2. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). (2018). Polymyalgia Rheumatica.
  3. American College of Rheumatology. (2021). Polymyalgia Rheumatica.

These references provide additional information on polymyalgia rheumatica and its treatment. If you need further guidance, these resources offer valuable insights into managing the condition effectively.

Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith is a highly respected Osteopath with over 15 years of experience in treating a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions. She graduated from the British School of Osteopathy with a Master’s degree in Osteopathic Medicine and is a registered member of the General Osteopathic Council. Natalie’s expertise spans the diagnosis and treatment of issues affecting the muscles, bones, joints, and connective tissues. She utilizes a holistic, patient-centered approach, combining manual techniques such as spinal manipulation, soft tissue massage, and joint mobilization to alleviate pain and restore optimal function. Passionate about educating her patients, Natalie frequently speaks at local health workshops and has authored articles on osteopathic care for several respected medical journals. Her commitment to ongoing professional development ensures she remains at the forefront of the latest advancements in the field of osteopathy.

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