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Myalgia with Elevated Inflammatory Markers in an Obese Young Female: Fibromyalgia or Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

Rabia Cheema, April Chang-Miller, Fawad Aslam

(Department of Medicine, St. Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury, CT, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2019; 20:659-663

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.915564


BACKGROUND: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common disorder of diffuse musculoskeletal pain. It is distinctly different from polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), a disease seen in people over the age of 50 years. Hallmark features of PMR are the presence of elevated erythrocytes sedimentation rate (ESR) and/or C-reactive protein (CRP). These markers are normal in FM. Obesity in itself can be associated with elevated CRP and ESR, and when obese patients present with myalgia and elevated inflammatory markers, diagnostic confusion can ensue.
CASE REPORT: We describe a case of 38-year-old female with diffuse musculoskeletal pain and elevated ESR and CRP who was initially misdiagnosed with PMR and responded partially to steroids. She developed severe adverse effects from chronic steroid use. She was ultimately diagnosed with FM.
CONCLUSIONS: We highlight features to help clinicians avoid the pitfall of diagnosing PMR in young obese patients with FM and elevated inflammatory markers. In this case report, we discuss the features of FM, PMR, PMR-like symptoms presentation, and the association of obesity with elevated inflammatory markers.

This paper has been published under Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) allowing to download articles and share them with others as long as they credit the authors and the publisher, but without permission to change them in any way or use them commercially.
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