A 78-year-old woman was referred to the internal specialist for general malaise, discomfort in upper arms and legs, and pain in the right temple without visual loss or jaw claudication. The patient showed no signs of acute illness and no physical abnormalities were found. Laboratory analysis showed anaemia and increased inflammatory parameters. She was thought to have giant cell arteritis and was treated accordingly. Another patient, a 63-year-old man, suffered from posture-dependent back pain. He had lost 6 kg in body weight and was complaining of polydipsia and polyuria. Physical examination revealed a chronically ill man with thoracic kyphosis. Inflammatory parameters showed increased ESR, whereas CRP was not affected. Following additional tests the man was thought to have multiple myeloma. The inflammatory status of patients can be followed by means of blood tests for CRP and ESR. The CRP test most accurately reflects the patient’s situation; the ESR test always lags behind.
Conflict of interest: none declared. Financial support: none declared.