What to Know About Polymyositis: Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

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Polymyositis is a rare chronic inflammatory muscle disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy muscle tissue. The condition can cause muscle weakness and inflammation. Polymyositis can affect people of any age but is most common in adults between 40 and 60.

There is no cure for polymyositis, but treatment can help to improve symptoms and quality of life. Learn more about this disease in this article.


Cause of Polymyositis

There is still a lot unknown about the cause of polymyositis. However, experts have a few theories. One theory is that a viral infection may trigger the disease. However, more research is needed to confirm its causes. Polymyositis is a rare condition, so there is still much to learn about it.


How to Know If You Have Polymyositis

A few key signs and symptoms can help you know if you have polymyositis. The most common symptom is muscle weakness, which typically affects the hips, thighs, shoulders, and upper arms muscles. This muscle weakness can make it difficult to do everyday tasks, such as climbing stairs or reaching for items.

Another common symptom of polymyositis is muscle pain. This pain is often described as a deep aching or burning sensation and can worsen after periods of inactivity. You may also experience joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. In some cases, the skin may become red and tender.

Other symptoms of polymyositis include:


  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shortness of breath

You must see your doctor for a diagnosis if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Polymyositis is a severe condition that can lead to disability, so early diagnosis and treatment are essential.


How Do Doctors Diagnose Polymyositis?

No one test can definitively diagnose polymyositis. Instead, doctors typically use a combination of tests, including a physical examination, blood tests, and muscle biopsy, to analyze.

The first step in diagnosing polymyositis is usually a physical examination. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history during the examination. They will also perform a physical exam to check your muscle strength and look for signs of muscle inflammation.

Blood tests are also often used to help diagnose polymyositis. These tests can check for high levels of inflammation markers, such as sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein. They can also check for high levels of a type of antibody called the antinuclear antibody (ANA). ANA is often present in people with autoimmune disorders.

A muscle biopsy may also be done to help diagnose polymyositis. A small piece of muscle tissue is removed and examined under a microscope during a muscle biopsy. The biopsy can show inflammation, muscle damage, and other abnormalities.


Treatments for Polymyositis

There is no one definite cure for polymyositis as of now, but treatment can help to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment typically involves a combination of medication, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

With early treatment, a person with polymyositis can go into remission. According to Merck Manual, the 5-year survival rate for adults with polymyositis is 75 to 80%.

Meanwhile, complications from polymyositis may result from severe and progressive muscle weakness or complications such as cardiac or pulmonary involvement. People with polymyositis who also have cancer generally have a worse prognosis.



Polymyositis is a rare inflammatory muscle disease that can cause muscle weakness and disability. See a doctor if you experience any symptoms of the disease, as early diagnosis and treatment can improve the prognosis. There is no known cure for polymyositis, but treatments are available to help manage the symptoms and improve quality of life.

Do you need the expertise of a rheumatologist in Lawrenceville? If so, the Center for Arthritis & Osteoporosis can help answer some of your questions. Dr. Adenwalla and her team provide the best possible care for their patients with autoimmune diseases. They use high-end medical technologies, such as radiographs, MRIs, and ultrasound, to help their patients recover from pain. Book a consultation with us!

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