Epidemiology of polymyalgia rheumatica

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2000 Jul-Aug;18(4 Suppl 20):S9-11.


Objective: To review the data on the epidemiology of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), in particular geographical and temporal differences in incidence and its risk factors including the actinic hypothesis.

Methods: Evaluation of the literature.

Results: Epidemiological data show that the incidence of PMR varies between 12.7/100,000 in Italy and 112.6/100,000 in Norway with a geographical gradient of increased frequency in the northern hemisphere. The incidence of PMR and giant cell arteritis (GCA) have increased in recent years. This observation may be related to a greater awareness of the disease but also to real epidemiological changes. Risk factors for PMR/GCA include infections, smoking, sun exposure, and nulliparity.

Conclusion: Epidemiological studies have helped to unravel the etiopathogenic factors at work in PMR/GCA. More data are needed on the correlation between the incidence of PMR/GCA and epidemics of infectious diseases and on environmental and biological risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology