Polymyositis is a rare disease of the connective tissues that causes skeletal muscles to weaken. Polymyositis is characterized by muscle weakness and inflammation. Polymyositis can develop at any time, but African Americans, women, and adults between 30 and 50 are most susceptible.
A Answers (3)
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
Johns Hopkins Medicine answered
Polymyositis is a disease caused by inflammation of the muscles. It occurs when white blood cells begin to invade the muscle tissue. The muscles most severely affected are those typically closest to the trunk or torso. This results in weakness that can be severe. For some patients, polymyositis also affects their lungs and they have difficulty breathing.
Those most at risk for polymyositis are between the ages of 35-44 and 55-64. Women are twice as likely to suffer from polymyositis as men.
Patients experience symptoms differently. Symptoms of polymyositis include:
- Gradual onset of weakness over weeks or months
- Difficulty rising from a low-seated chair or combing one's hair
- Torso or core weakness
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Pain or weakness in the joints
- Generalized fatigue
If you have polymyositis, your doctor will most likely prescribe one or more medications that suppress the immune system (such as corticosteroids). If you have lung problems, you will also need to see a pulmonologist.
Donna Hill Howes, RN, Administrator, answered
Polymyositis is one of a group of muscle diseases known as inflammatory myopathies, which are characterized by chronic muscle inflammation accompanied by muscle weakness. Polymyositis affects skeletal muscles (those involved with making movement) on both sides of the body. It is rarely seen in persons under the age of 18; most cases are in adults between the ages of 31 and 60. Progressive muscle weakness starts in the proximal muscle (the muscle closest to the trunk of the body), which eventually leads to difficulty climbing stairs, rising from a sitting position, lifting objects, or reaching overhead. People with polymyositis may also experience arthritis, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing and speaking, and heart arrhythmias. In some cases of polymyositis, distal muscles (muscles further away from the trunk of the body, such as those in the forearms and around the ankles and wrists) may be affected as the disease progresses. Polymyositis may be associated with collagen-vascular or autoimmune diseases, such as lupus. Polymyositis may also be associated with infectious disorders, such as human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency (HIV/AIDS).
This answer from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.