Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Polymyositis Overview

What is polymyositis?
A person with polymyositis has inflammation of the muscles, resulting in muscle weakness. The cause of polymyositis is unknown. Polymyositis may result from an abnormal immune system, which normally fights infection. The immune system mistakenly attacks normal muscle tissue, causing inflammation and breakdown of the muscle cells. The cause of the abnormal immune system in polymyositis is unknown.

What are the symptoms of polymyositis?
The most common symptom of polymyositis is muscle weakness. Initial symptoms of polymyositis include arm weakness, leg weakness, and fatigue. Additional symptoms of polymyositis may include difficulty swallowing, diminished voice, hand tremor, muscle pain, muscle swelling, and joint pains.

How does the doctor treat polymyositis?
Treatment for polymyositis may include oral corticosteroids, medications that suppress the immune system, regular exercise, and physical therapy.

Continue to Polymyositis Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 30, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Polymyositis References
  1. Choy EH, Isenberg DA. Treatment of dermatomyositis and polymyositis. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2002 Jan;41(1):7-13. [11792873]
  2. Dalakas MC, Hohlfeld R. Polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Lancet. 2003 Sep 20;362(9388):971-82. [14511932]
  3. van der Meulen MF, Bronner IM, Hoogendijk JE, Burger H, van Venrooij WJ, Voskuyl AE, Dinant HJ, Linssen WH, Wokke JH, de Visser M. Polymyositis: an overdiagnosed entity. Neurology. 2003 Aug 12;61(3):316-21. [12913190]
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