We are the combination of four hospitals: the General Hospital, the Children’s Hospital, the Women’s Hospital and the Traumatology, Rehabilitation and Burns Hospital. We are part of the Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus: a world-leading health park where healthcare plays a crucial role.
Below we will list the departments and units that form part of Vall d’Hebron Hospital and the main diseases that we treat. We will also make recommendations based on advice backed up by scientific evidence that has been shown to be effective in guaranteeing well-being and quality of life.
We will guide you from your first visit to the centre, allowing you to find all the departments and make the most of our facilities. Whatever the reason for your visit, we will explain how to get about the hospital.
Rheumatic polymyalgia is an inflammatory rheumatic disease, of unknown origin, that mainly affects people over 50 and causes pain and rigidity in the shoulder and hip areas (shoulder and pelvic girdles). Between 15% and 30% of cases can be linked to giant cell arteritis. In the immense majority of cases it is accompanied by an increase in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), analytic proof that, in general, indicates that an inflammatory process is active in our body.
The symptoms usually begin with symmetrical pain in the shoulders, and difficulty raising the arms and doing everyday tasks like combing hair or washing. If it affects the hips, the patient usually has difficulty getting up from a chair without using their hands. Less frequently, it may affect the neck and lower back. Pain and rigidity are more intense after long periods of rest, such as getting up in the morning.
Everyday activities such as getting up from a chair or the toilet, turning over in bed, combing hair or getting dressed become difficult and, in many cases, help is needed.
On some occasions it is accompanied by other, less specific symptoms, such as fever, loss of appetite or weight loss. All these changes usually appear in a relatively short space of time, either within a few weeks or months.
Rheumatic polymyalgia typically appears in over 50 year-olds. 50 out of every 100,000 people over this age suffer from it each year. It is twice as common in women than in men and is most frequent in white people.
The exact cause is unknown. Its appearance in the elderly leads to thought of some factor (unknown) linked to ageing, along with genetic factors and anomalies in the individual’s immune system.
With regard to genetic factors, it is known that familial aggregation exists. That is to say, it is more frequent in members of the same family.
There is no single test to diagnose this disease. The diagnosis is reached using the combination of the symptoms, physical examination by the rheumatologist and blood test results, where all this is presented in people over 50.
The most significant discovery in the blood test is the increase in ESR, which occurs in the majority of patients. It is worth pointing out that this change in the blood is not specific to this disease as it is elevated in any inflammatory or infectious process occurring in the body. In general, ESR is considered normal up to 15mm in the first hour in men, and up to 20mm/hr in women, but this increases with the age of the individual. In the event that there is Rheumatic polymyalgia, these figures reach much higher values, generally above 50mm/hr.
In the same way, C-reactive protein (CRP) is also a marker that serves to detect inflammation and is usually found to be high.
The basis for treatment of rheumatic polymyalgia is corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are given in low doses (between 10mg and 20mg per day), preferably taken in a single dose in the morning. The symptoms effectively improve quickly (usually in the first 24-48 hours), the pain and stiffness disappear, and function and autonomy are recovered.
Once the symptoms have disappeared, the dose prescribed by the rheumatologist will be progressively decreased in order to find the lowest possible dosage to control the disease. For controls, EST and CRP values are also taken into account as they usually go back to normal as the symptoms disappear, which demonstrates response to the treatment.
Select the newsletter you want to receive:
By accepting these conditions, you are agreeing to the processing of your personal data for the provision of the services requested through this portal, and, if necessary, for any procedures required by the administrations or public bodies involved in this processing, and their subsequent inclusion in the aforementioned automated file. You may exercise your rights to access, rectification, cancellation or opposition by writing to email@example.com, clearly stating the subject as "Exercising of Data Protection Rights".
Operated by: Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron - Institut Català de la Salut.
Purpose: Manage the user’s contact information.
Rights: To access, rectify, and delete personal information data, as well to the portability thereof and to limit and/or oppose their use.
Source: The interested party themselves.