Polymyositis refers to a rare inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness, tissue damage and swelling tenderness. This disease is part of a larger group of diseases that are called myositis. The condition can make it difficult to climb stairs, rise from a seated position, pick objects or reach overhead. People in their 30s, 40s or 50s are at the highest risk of suffering from polymyositis.
Slow, but progressive muscle weakness starts in the proximal muscles (muscles closest to the trunk of the body) which eventually lead to difficulties 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 HIV-AIDS.
Immunosuppressive agents – Immunosuppressive agents are used for the treatment of patients who do not improve with steroids within a period of time or in whom the adverse affects caused from corticosteroids start.
Corticosteroids – Prednisone is the first-line treatment of choice for people suffering from Polymyositis. The doctor will check how your body responds to them and decide on the dose accordingly.
Changes in diet have been proved effective in management of the condition. Patients are asked to take a high-protein diet so as to monitor their condition. Such a diet helps them to avoid gaining weight excessively due to the use of corticosteroid.
Patients must seek motivation and encouragement to start an exercise program early in the course of the disease. When they are in the acute stage of the disease, they may seek benefits from heat therapy, splints and passive range-of-motion to avoid the contractions.
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