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Polymyositis

At King’s, our physicians have decades of experience in treating polymyositis and are highly skilled in managing patients with this condition.

Overview: What is Polymyositis?

Polymyositis is a disorder affecting the muscles. It is a form of inflammatory myopathy that is characterized by inflammation and damage to the muscles and related tissues such as the arteries supplying blood to them. It may cause severe muscle weakness and pain, usually on both sides.

Why does Polymyositis occur?

The exact cause of polymyositis is not known. It is believed to be an autoimmune condition, which means it occurs when the immune cells attacks the body’s own tissues.

What are the symptoms of Polymyositis?

The symptoms of polymyositis include weakness of the muscle tissues on both the sides of the body.

This condition usually affects the muscle groups closer to the trunk such as the hips, shoulders, thighs, arms, neck, and upper back.

As a result, patients may develop symptoms such as:

  • Trouble lifting the arms over the head
  • Difficulty in climbing the stairs or rising from a chair
  • Inability to carry things and swallow food

Some other symptoms of polymyositis include:

  • Fever
  • Joint pains
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

What are the risk factors for Polymyositis?

Polymyositis is more common in people with pre-existing autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It is also more common in patients with HIV.

It is comparatively rare in children. The risk of polymyositis is higher in women than in men.

Treatment of Polymyositis

Polymyositis can be treated using medications that can relieve the symptoms. The common treatments include:

  • Steroids can help to reduce muscle inflammation and pain and increase muscle strength.
  • Drugs like azathioprine and methotrexate can suppress the response of the immune system.
  • Physical therapy is aimed at improving muscle strength and promoting balance and muscle coordination to improve mobility.

Results

The prognosis of polymyositis depends on the severity of the symptoms and extent of muscle damage. Most patients respond to treatment favorably and are able to regain some of the muscle strength. Some amount of muscle weakness may remain.

However, it is possible to lead an active and healthy life by seeking proper medical intervention.

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