Day of the best age: a life without pain

Polymyalgia Rheumatica is commonly diagnosed in the elderly, but this cannot be a determining factor that will impair the quality of life

On October 1st, we celebrate the International Day of the Elderly, and just like for any age, one of the most important factors is quality of life and health. And we need to talk about rheumatological diseases.

Nothing unusual, the elderly begin to complain of pain in the upper and lower limbs, extreme fatigue takes over and discouragement overwhelms them, this has consequences for all aspects of life for this share of the population.

According to Dr Felipe Mendonça, rheumatologist at Imuno Brasil, complaints of pain in the joints, as well as in other parts of the body, are common in old age, but they cannot let things go without an effective diagnosis, after all, rheumatological diseases when detected early can be treated more effectively.

The pain of the elderly cannot be underdiagnosed or undervalued, but treated carefully and resolutely. And one of the most common diseases in these cases is Polymyalgia Rheumatica. Treatment is simple, as long as the diagnosis is made in advance and treatment begins soon.

The doctor explains that the disease affects individuals over 50 years old, but it affects more frequently the age group of 70 years old.

Despite being a disease mainly characterized by pain in the joints, in up to 10% of cases it can evolve seriously, to an inflammation of the vessels called Giant Cell Arteritis, which in turn can lead to weight loss, difficulty eating and even total blindness. Thus, a timely diagnosis is essential both for improving quality of life and for preventing progression to more severe forms.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica is characterized by a systemic inflammatory disease that affects musculoskeletal tissues, with more incidence in the shoulder and hip joints. The symptoms are pain and stiffness in the affected areas.

Due to the inflammatory process, the symptoms are more severe in the morning and can even cause intense fevers. With a clinical diagnosis, the disease must be treated with corticoids as soon as possible, to avoid the evolution to Giant Cell Arteritis, which, as previously mentioned, can cause blindness in 20% of cases.

The elderly deserve solid and quick diagnoses, after all, they have the right to maintain their  quality of life to enjoy the best age.

About the doctor: Imuno Brasil rheumatologist, Felipe Mendonça de Santana graduated in medicine from the Federal University of Pernambuco (2012), with residency in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (FMUSP), where he also served as Preceptor Physician in Rheumatology, as well as at the Public Servants’ Hospital of the State of São Paulo.