PMRGCAuk aims to help people with Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis, and to raise awareness about these diseases that suddenly attack people over the age of 50. PMR causes extreme pain in the muscles and joints, and affects mobiliity. Giant Cell Arteritis, which is linked to PMR, can cause sudden blindness if not treated immediately. We believe we can save the sight of hundreds of people a year just by raising awareness among the public and the medical profession.
The cause of PMR and GCA is not known, and there is currently no cure. The usual treatment is long-term use of corticosteroids, and these drugs have side effects that can affect health in other ways, for instance by causing osteoporosis and high blood sugar. So people under treatment for PMR and GCA are at increased risk from fractures and diabetes. These are Cinderella diseases that have not been taken sufficiently seriously in the past. But now there is increasing interest, as the health and social costs of PMR and GCA become better known. Because the people who get PMR and GCA are often elderly and infirm, they can feel isolated and depressed. Many people who were formerly active and independent become disabled overnight, and the most unfortunate ones lose their vision, through a 'stroke in the eye' caused by obstruction of the arteries in the head. Everyone needs to know the key symptoms of Giant Cell Arteritis to protect themselves and people they love. Your help is desperately needed not onlyto provide information, support and encouragement to sufferers, but also to help us raise public awareness.