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Is There a Specific Diet for Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disorder and musculoskeletal health problem that causes diffuse muscle aches and stiffness in older individuals 2. According to the American College of Rheumatology, polymyalgia rheumatica is most common in women and individuals over the age of 50 1. This condition usually affects both sides of your body. Before using diet and nutrition to help treat your polymyalgia rheumatica, review all diet-related topics with your primary care provider.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Approximately 700 out of every 100,000 people in America over the age of 50 have polymyalgia rheumatica, states the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 12. Some of the most commonly experienced signs and symptoms associated with polymyalgia rheumatica include muscle discomfort and stiffness, fever, muscle weakness and unexplained weight loss 1. Other possible signs and symptoms include low red blood cell count, depression and reduced appetite. The cause of this health problem is unknown.

A Helpful Diet

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Consider also eliminating or reducing your intake of alcohol, refined sugar products, salt and pro-inflammatory fats, such as trans fat and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Foods that may be particularly helpful in reducing inflammation throughout your body include flaxseeds, walnuts, fish oil and cold-water fish, such as:

  • sardines
  • herring
  • trout
  • mackerel
  • wild salmon

Walnuts may be an effective food in reducing the inflammation associated with your polymyalgia rheumatica. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, copper, tryptophan and the phytosterols campesterol and beta-sitosterol. Omega-3 fatty acids are well-known for their ability to quell inflammation in your body and have historically been used in treating conditions such as polymyalgia rheumatica, arthritis and heart disease.


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Polymyalgia rheumatica may lead to serious disabilities if it is not treated in a timely and appropriate manner by a licensed health-care professional. Meet with your primary care provider as soon as possible if you develop the characteristic signs and symptoms of this inflammatory condition. Though diet and nutrition are commonly used as an adjunct therapy in treating this condition, the use of this natural healing approach does not guarantee a positive health outcome.