Polymyositis is a disease that causes muscles to become irritated and inflamed. The
muscles eventually start to break down and become weak. The condition can affect muscles
all over the body. This can make even simple movements difficult. Polymyositis is one
disease in a group of diseases called inflammatory myopathies.
The exact cause of polymyositis is not known. It most often happens in people ages 31 to 60. It rarely occurs in people younger than 18. Experts think that polymyositis may be related to or triggered by a virus or an autoimmune reaction. An autoimmune reaction is when the body attacks its own tissues. In some cases, a medicine may lead to an allergic response that causes muscle irritation and damage. But in most cases, healthcare providers aren’t able to find the exact cause of the condition.
condition affects muscles all over the body, and can affect the ability to run, walk, or
lift objects. It can also affect the muscles that allow you to eat and breathe. The
muscles that are closest to the center of the body tend to be affected the most often.
The common symptoms of polymyositis include:
Polymyositis can make it hard to do everyday things. You may notice trouble walking up a flight of stairs, lifting up your arms, or getting out of your chair. As inflammation gets worse around the body, pain and weakness may affect the ankles, wrists, and lower arm area.
Weight loss and poor nutrition may become a problem if muscle weakness leads to trouble eating and swallowing.
process starts with a health history and a physical exam. The exam will include seeing
how strong your muscles are. You may need tests such as:
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, your age, and your general health. It will also
depend on how severe the condition is. There's no cure for polymyositis, but the
symptoms can be managed. You may need more than one kind of treatment. And your
treatment may need to be changed over time. In severe cases, some treatments don't work
as well. Treatments include:
Talk with your healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medicines.
polymyositis is not treated, it can lead to severe complications. As the muscles become
weaker, you may fall often and be limited in your daily activities. If the muscles in
the digestive tract and chest wall are affected, you may have problems breathing
(respiratory failure), malnutrition, and weight loss. Polymyositis that is treated but
can't be managed well can cause severe disability. This includes an inability to swallow
or breathe without help.
There is no known way to prevent polymyositis, because the exact cause is not known. In
some cases where medicines may be to blame, stopping these medicines can prevent future
episodes of the condition. Don't stop taking any medicine without your doctor's
your symptoms get worse or you notice new symptoms, call your healthcare provider. If
you have trouble breathing or can't swallow normally, you may need emergency medical
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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