Epidemiology of polymyalgia rheumatica in Olmsted County, Minnesota, 1970-1991

Arthritis Rheum. 1995 Mar;38(3):369-73. doi: 10.1002/art.1780380311.


Objective: To determine the incidence, prevalence, and survival of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) over a 22-year period in Olmsted County, Minnesota.

Methods: Using the unified record system at the Mayo Clinic for the Olmsted County population, we reviewed all medical records with a diagnosis of PMR from 1970 through 1991.

Results: There were 245 (173 female; 72 male) incidence cases of PMR between 1970 and 1991. The average annual age- and sex-adjusted incidence of PMR per 100,000 population > or = 50 years was 52.5 (95% confidence interval [CI] 45.9-59.2), with a significantly higher incidence in females (61.7; 95% CI 52.3-71.2) than in males (39.9; 95% CI 30.7-49.2). The incidence varied over the period of observation, but no significant trends were found. The prevalence of PMR among persons > or = 50 years on January 1, 1992 was 6/1,000. There was a small but significantly increased survival rate among male PMR patients compared with the general population.

Conclusion: Our data demonstrate that PMR is a common nonfatal disease in the elderly, the incidence and clinical manifestations of which have varied but remained relatively stable over the last 2 decades.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / epidemiology*
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / mortality
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Survival Rate