Polymyositis is a disease that causes inflammation and weakness of the muscles. It can also affect skin tissues. Polymyositis is also known as idiopathic inflammatory myopathy. It is often associated with diseases in which the body mistakenly attacks its own cells and tissues (autoimmune diseases).
4 Interesting Facts of Polymyositis
- Acute or chronic muscle disease affecting shoulder and hip girdle muscles
- Affected muscles are weak and can be tender to touch
- Diffuse inflammation and elevated creatinine phosphokinase level
- Differentiated with positive muscle biopsy findings
What are the causes?
The cause of polymyositis is not known.
What increases the risk?
The following factors may make you more likely to develop this condition:
- Gender. Polymyositis is more common in women.
- Age. The disease is more common in adults.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of this condition include:
- Weakness in your neck, shoulder, upper arm, hip, or thigh.
- Having difficulty:
- Rising from a seated position.
- Climbing stairs.
- Lifting objects.
- Reaching overhead.
- Swallowing (dysphagia).
- Sore muscles.
- Hard bumps under your skin.
- Unexplained weight loss.
How is this diagnosed?
This condition may be diagnosed based on medical history and a physical exam. Various tests may also be done, including:
- Blood tests.
- EMG (electromyography). This is a test to check the electrical activity of your muscles.
- Biopsy. This is a test in which a sample of muscle tissue is taken and checked under a microscope.
How is this treated?
There is no cure for polymyositis, but treatment can improve muscle strength and function. The earlier the treatment is started, the more effective it is. Treatment may include:
- Corticosteroid medicines to help control inflammation.
- Immunoglobulin medicines to introduce healthy antibodies from blood donors.
- Immunosuppressive medicines to control the activity of the immune system.
- Physical therapy to strengthen muscles.
- Speech and language therapy to improve your ability to talk and eat.
Follow these instructions at home:
- Stay active. An exercise routine can help you build and maintain muscle strength. Talk with your health care provider or your physical therapist before you start any exercise program.
- If necessary, take steps to prevent falls by:
- Installing grab bars for your tub, shower, and toilet.
- Installing a pole that goes from floor to ceiling. This helps you when going from a seated to a standing position.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Wear sunscreen or protective clothing when you are outside.
- Work closely with your health care team, including physical and speech therapists, if needed.
- Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Rest when you are tired.
- Do not use any products that contain nicotine or tobacco, such as cigarettes and e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
- Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.
Contact a health care provider if you:
- Develop new or worsening muscle weakness.
Get help right away if you have:
- Trouble swallowing or speaking.
- Shortness of breath.
- Polymyositis is a disease that causes inflammation and weakness of your muscles. It can also affect your skin tissues.
- It is often associated with diseases in which the body attacks its own cells and tissues (autoimmune diseases).
- The cause of polymyositis is not known.
- There is no cure for polymyositis, but treatment can improve muscle strength and function. The earlier treatment is started, the more effective it is.