My autoimmune disease is not life threatening, however, corticosteroids are the only available treatment for Polymyalgia Rheumatica. There is no alternative. I have had many relapses, NSAIDs do not work for this disease and anybody who thinks they can control PMR without steroids soon realises that the only way to beat the pain and live relatively normally is with steroids. Naturally, the dose is tapered gradually, but most people have it for 3 or 5 years or more, many like myself suffer relapes particularly if they get a viral infection, undergo surgery or have a major crisis in their lives, and some people never recover from PMR. It is a devastating disease and without steroids it is crippling. Of course there are side-effects but if one is careful about diet, exercise and plenty of rest they can be reduced. After 8 years on steroid treatment my bones are still strong. A thyroid nodule was found during an MRI to check on my spine, and I am referred to see a specialist, but an endocrinologist friend read the US report and says I have nothing to worry about. Thyroid nodules are common.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis was first described by Japanese physician Hashimoto Hakaru working in Germany in 1912. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, and patients with this disease often complain about difficulty swallowing. This condition may be so mild at first that the disease goes unnoticed for years. The first symptom that shows signs of Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a goiter on the front of the neck. Depending on the severity of the disease and how much it has progressed, doctors then decide what steps are taken for treatment.
Long Term Management
Patients who have not had thyroid disease previously must be examined on a regular basis in case they develop thyroid disease. Patients with eye disease who have had their hyperthyroidism treated previously should also be examined at regular intervals to make certain that thyroid function remains normal since recurrence of hyperthyroidism, or development of hypothyroidism, may cause the eye disease to flare up. In some cases, cosmetic surgery for the eye or surgery to correct the double vision is performed. The patient is hyperthyroid at first and may have the same symptoms as patients with Graves’ hyperthyroidism, but then goes through a hypothyroid phase before full recovery. The presence of thyroid antibodies, similar to those seen in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is a risk factor for the persistence of hypothyroidism.