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Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) and Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) are linked rheumatic inflammatory illnesses that affect older people - generally, people over 50. They are chronic autoimmune conditions that cause untold misery, pain and debilitation. More acutely, undiagnosed GCA can lead to blindness, which is irreversible. In the United Kingdom each year, there are an estimated 40,000 new cases of PMR and 10,000 new cases of GCA, with a significant degree of overlap, many people having both conditions together. Many people, when they first get their diagnosis, have never heard of PMR or GCA before, and have to get used to the idea of having a chronic inflammatory illness, together with the steroid therapy that is the only standard effective treatment widely available. Several months into their diagnosis they often have many questions about why their journey through PMR and GCA isn't as smooth as they were led to expect. This book is written to give people who have Polymyalgia Rheumatica, or Giant Cell Arteritis (sometimes known as temporal arteritis), and their friends and carers, information about these illnesses, drawing on recent research. It also aims to give insights into what it is like to have these conditions, and how sufferers and those close to them can help themselves in the self-management of their condition towards recovery. It is not intended to replace information provided by your doctor or clinician. This second edition incorporates recommendations by international working groups on the diagnosis and management of PMR and GCA, and findings from research published since 2014. A full references list and index have been added. The author, Dr Kate Gilbert, PhD, is a semi-retired lecturer in management development, now concentrating on writing and voluntary work. She has spent several years, as a PMR survivor, studying these conditions and working as a volunteer with the PMR and GCA charity, PMRGCAuk. A former Chair of Trustees, she helps to edit the charity's website and its regular newsletter. She has also served as a patient representative on a number of working groups, including the ACR/EULAR group to develop international recommendations for PMR, and has recently contributed a chapter on patient education to a medical textbook on PMR and GCA published by Oxford University Press.
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