After PMR and return to good health

Posted by alan bruce @alanbruce, Jan 25, 2020

I had PMR for twenty months and thanks to Prednisone, good doctors and advice from Mayo Connect I was able to taper my way back to reasonably good health. I do get colds and numerous sinus and chest congestion issues all of which seem to last much longer than before PMR. I understand PMR weakens our immune systems so I assume that our immune system may return to normal after PMR. Question: does anyone have an idea how long it normally takes to have our immune system to return to normal or will it?

Hello Alan @alanbruce, Sorry I missed your post. Glad to hear you are doing well with your PMR. You ask a great question. I'm not sure of the answer other than what I've heard from my rheumatologist that once you have been diagnosed and treated for polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) even when it goes away after being treated it's still in your system and can come out of remission at any time. I think that might be due to lifestyle events, diets, other illnesses, etc. that might trigger it again. I've had 2 occurrences and my PMR has been in remission almost 2 years now. Have you made any changes like adding more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet?

I still get colds but not very often and I do get a flu shot every year now. I also am extra vigilant with washing my hands during the cold season doing "fist bumps" instead of hand shakes if a person has a cold ☺

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Hello, I had a serious sinus infection that lasted an entire year. Finally in July 2019 I had surgery and much better now. Funny thing is that I tested negative for all allergies and they couldn’t understand where it came from. Hindsight, I think it was attributed to my failing autoimmune system. Last week, my blood work finally showed elevation in C reactive and my RA finally feel better about diagnosis of PMR. I opted to take 800mg of ibuprofen instead of steroids. Now, granted, it doesn’t get rid of my pain as well as the steroids but my mobility has been great! I can take up to 2400mg /day but I take less. I’m able to workout and so all sorts of physical activities which is great!

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@asklizzie

Hello, I had a serious sinus infection that lasted an entire year. Finally in July 2019 I had surgery and much better now. Funny thing is that I tested negative for all allergies and they couldn’t understand where it came from. Hindsight, I think it was attributed to my failing autoimmune system. Last week, my blood work finally showed elevation in C reactive and my RA finally feel better about diagnosis of PMR. I opted to take 800mg of ibuprofen instead of steroids. Now, granted, it doesn’t get rid of my pain as well as the steroids but my mobility has been great! I can take up to 2400mg /day but I take less. I’m able to workout and so all sorts of physical activities which is great!

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@asklizzie, It's good to hear that you able to treat your PMR without the steroids and get rid of most of the pain. Have you discussed the long term use of ibuprofen with your doctor? From what I've read, regular use of ibuprofen may eventually cause kidney and liver damage, bleeding in the stomach and bowels, and increased risk of heart attack. More information from Harvard Medical School site:

Heart-safer NSAID alternatives
https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/heart-safer-nsaid-alternatives

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Hi @zaa, Thank you for the private message and the kind words. I hope you don't mind but I thought I would respond to your private message in this discussion – After PMR and return to good health so that other members may benefit from our conversation.

Sadly my answer to your question if I have seen my muscles come back from riding my exercise bike is that I know the exercise is good for me but I am still losing muscle mass and have not seen it get better. From what I've learned about building and adding muscle mass I think I need to do more strength training exercises as well as the cardio that the exercise bike provides. I did find a good article that sums up how we can help ourselves.

HEALTHY AGING – Building muscle after 60: https://seniorplanet.org/building-muscle-after-60/

One item that I added to help me at home is a Teeter FitForm Home Gym – https://teeter.com/product/fitform/. What I like about it is that it doesn't take up a lot of room and comes with an app for your tablet or phone that gives you videos on how to exercise specific muscle groups. I haven't been using it lately as much as I should but I'm a work in progress and know that I have to make it part of my daily routine and not just use it when I feel like it. I'm more concerned about my arm muscles and strength as I need them more and more every day.

I have the same concern that you have about falling. I would love to be able to ride a normal bike again but I just don't trust my balance. I have thought about one of the 3 wheel bicycles, either the recumbent style that is low to the ground or the old style bicycle that is standard height. That would solve the balance and falling issue (I think) but I'm not sure I would get out and use it as much due to Winters and the heat of the Summer. The last bone density scan I had was in 2017 and I think I need to talk with my primary care doctor and schedule another one next year at my annual physical. The one in 2017 showed I had osteopenia and my 10 year risk assessment of falling and breaking or fracturing was 9.1% for major osteoporatic and 2.4% for a hip fracture.

When my PMR is in remission I am off of prednisone so I think that is the definition of remission is when you are able to stop taking prednisone and no longer have the associated pain.

I know that you want to get outside and ride your bike more but are worried about balance. Do you like to walk? I used to love walking but my lower back and my forward leaning posture makes it harder for me so that I'm only able to walk for a short amount of time or distance without resting. I have invested in some inexpensive Nordic walking sticks that they help with the balance and my ability to walk more upright but I still get tired easily.

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@johnbishop

Hi @zaa, Thank you for the private message and the kind words. I hope you don't mind but I thought I would respond to your private message in this discussion – After PMR and return to good health so that other members may benefit from our conversation.

Sadly my answer to your question if I have seen my muscles come back from riding my exercise bike is that I know the exercise is good for me but I am still losing muscle mass and have not seen it get better. From what I've learned about building and adding muscle mass I think I need to do more strength training exercises as well as the cardio that the exercise bike provides. I did find a good article that sums up how we can help ourselves.

HEALTHY AGING – Building muscle after 60: https://seniorplanet.org/building-muscle-after-60/

One item that I added to help me at home is a Teeter FitForm Home Gym – https://teeter.com/product/fitform/. What I like about it is that it doesn't take up a lot of room and comes with an app for your tablet or phone that gives you videos on how to exercise specific muscle groups. I haven't been using it lately as much as I should but I'm a work in progress and know that I have to make it part of my daily routine and not just use it when I feel like it. I'm more concerned about my arm muscles and strength as I need them more and more every day.

I have the same concern that you have about falling. I would love to be able to ride a normal bike again but I just don't trust my balance. I have thought about one of the 3 wheel bicycles, either the recumbent style that is low to the ground or the old style bicycle that is standard height. That would solve the balance and falling issue (I think) but I'm not sure I would get out and use it as much due to Winters and the heat of the Summer. The last bone density scan I had was in 2017 and I think I need to talk with my primary care doctor and schedule another one next year at my annual physical. The one in 2017 showed I had osteopenia and my 10 year risk assessment of falling and breaking or fracturing was 9.1% for major osteoporatic and 2.4% for a hip fracture.

When my PMR is in remission I am off of prednisone so I think that is the definition of remission is when you are able to stop taking prednisone and no longer have the associated pain.

I know that you want to get outside and ride your bike more but are worried about balance. Do you like to walk? I used to love walking but my lower back and my forward leaning posture makes it harder for me so that I'm only able to walk for a short amount of time or distance without resting. I have invested in some inexpensive Nordic walking sticks that they help with the balance and my ability to walk more upright but I still get tired easily.

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Thanks John. Maybe I’ve reminded you then to get on your exercise equipment today and eat nutritiously. I’ve taken gluten out of my diet and working on the auto immune diet which has been interesting. I’m sad to hear about muscle building but I’m going to do what I can. Really miss being with my biking friends!

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