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Polymyositis Signs and Symptoms

Polymysitis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflamed muscles and muscle and neck weakness.  Muscle weakness may build up gradually over a few months, or it can come on suddenly.  The muscles involved are those usually closest to the trunk of the body. In most cases it is not fatal, but the muscle weakness can be quite debilitating.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of polymyositis below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Polymyositis include:

  • Muscle weakness, especially the hips and shoulders
  • Painful swelling in the small joints
  • Muscle soreness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Low grade fever
  • Muscles feel tender to the touch
  • Difficulty climbing stairs, lifting above the shoulders, and getting up from chairs

Shortness of breath, difficulty speaking and difficulty swallowing affect those whose throat, breathing muscles, heart or lungs are involved.  In these cases, the condition can be fatal.

Polymyositis Diagnosis

A muscle biopsy is used to confirm the presence of polymyositis.  There is a specific type of muscle inflammation that is typical only of polymyositis that can be seen through a biopsy.  Other tests used to confirm the diagnosis of polymyositis include an EMG and nerve conduction velocity tests, which measure the electrical impulses of the muscles.  These tests are also used to exclude other neuro-muscular disorders.  Additional testing can involve blood tests, chest x-rays, MRIs and CT scans of the affected areas.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Polymyositis

The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Polymyositis: A Revised and Updated Directory for the Internet Age by ICON Health Publications (Feb 13, 2004) Polymyositis – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References by ICON Health Publications (Apr 27, 2004)

Living Well with Autoimmune Disease: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You…That You Need to Know by Mary J. Shomon (Oct 8, 2002) Coping with a Myositis Disease by James R. Kilpatrick (Sep 1, 2000)

Polymyositis Resources

General Patient Resources

  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Polymyositis information sheet compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

  • Office of Rare Diseases Research (GARD)

A US Department of Health and Human Service project providing information on genetic and rare diseases. A comprehensive body of resources on Polymyositis.

  • Med Help

Information, symptoms, treatment and resources for polymyositis.

  • Experience Project

Anonymously connect with people who share your experiences– like those who say ‘I Have Polymyositis’. Read hundreds of true stories, share your own story anonymously, get feedback and comments, chat in the discussion forum, help others, meet new friends, and so much more– all free.

  • Daily Strength

Discuss Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis with others who understand what you’re going through.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatment of this inflammatory muscle disease.

  • Medicine Net . com

Information about polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM) causes, symptoms, disease diagnosis, medications and treatment, plus, learn if it’s hereditary.

  • Medscape Reference

Explore the latest treatments and technologies.