Polymyositis - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Polymyositis is a muscular disorder often called inflammatory myopathy. It is a condition that causes inflammation of the muscles and their related issues, like the blood vessels, causing pain and weakness, usually on both sides of the body. People with this disease may find it difficult to climb stairs, stand up from a chair, lift objects and reach overhead. Mostly, it affects people between the ages of 30s, 40s, and 50s. Women are at more risk of developing it as compared to men and black as compared to white. 


The signs and symptoms of polymyositis develop slowly and gradually over a period of years. Until now, there is no cure for polymyositis, but symptomatic treatment with medicines and physical therapy can help get better. 



Causes


The exact cause of polymyositis is unknown, but experts believe that it occurs due to an autoimmune reaction- a condition when your body attacks its own tissues or cells. 



Risk factors


Polymyositis is common among people who have other autoimmune conditions like;


  • Lupus 

  • HIV

  • Rheumatoid arthritis 

  • Scleroderma

  • Sjogren’s syndrome


It may also affect people who have difficulty in breathing.



Symptoms 


Polymyositis causes inflammation of muscles that are closest to the trunk, like that of hips, shoulders, neck, and upper arms. The weakness affects both the right and left side of the body and worsens over time.


It may also cause other symptoms like;

  • Fever

  • Weight loss

  • Fatigue

  • Joint pain

  • Raynaud’s phenomenon- a condition in which the fingers or toes become blue and cold due to altered blood flow. 

Complications


Polymyositis can lead to the following complications;


Difficulty swallowing 

If muscles of your esophagus are affected with polymyositis, it can in turn lead to dysphagia- a condition also known as swallowing difficulty in which you have to exert more than normal efforts in swallowing food and liquid from your mouth to stomach. 



Aspiration pneumonia

Dysphagia can lead to inhalation of foods, liquids, and saliva that can, in turn, cause pneumonia. 


Breathing problems 

If polymyositis affects chest muscles, it can cause difficulty in breathing and respiratory failure. 


Treatment 


Polymyositis is a lifelong condition, which means once it occurs, it remains for a lifetime. However, the following treatment can help in getting rid of symptoms.


Corticosteroids like prednisolone to suppress hyperactivity of the immune system. 


Immunosupressants like azathioprine and methotrexate that also supress immune system. 


Physical therapy can also help get rid of symptoms and help you make yourself stronger and better. 



Conclusion 


Polymyositis is a muscular disorder often called inflammatory myopathy. It is a condition that causes inflammation of the muscles and their related issues, like the blood vessels, causing pain and weakness, usually on both sides of the body. People with this disease may find it difficult to climb stairs, stand up from a chair, lift objects and reach overhead. Mostly it affects people between the ages of 30s, 40s, and 50s. Women are at more risk of developing it as compared to men and black as compared to white. 


Dr. Muhammad Afzal - Rheumatologist in Lahore

Dr. Muhammad Afzal

Rheumatologist

MBBS, DSM, AFS, Orthopedic Physician

Under 15 Mins Wait Time
10 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
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Under 15 Mins Wait Time
10 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients

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