It’s not common to develop polymyositis symptoms, and they indicate a disease in the connective tissues. It’s an inflammatory myopathy, characterized by muscle weakness and inflammation. You would first notice a weakness of the muscles of the skeleton, which are responsible for controlling movement.
You can suffer from polymyositis at most any age, although it usually affects adults in their forties. It’s more likely to affect women than men, and the symptoms and signs generally develop over a period of time, in a gradual way. You may have a rare period of remission from polymyositis, and during these times your symptoms appear to improve spontaneously. Your polymyositis prognosis is brighter if you get treatment at the earliest symptoms.
It can be quite difficult to determine the exact time when polymyositis begins, since the onset of symptoms is so gradual. You may experience a progressive weakness of your muscles, which is the most common symptom. It will usually affect the muscles of your neck, upper arms, shoulders, thighs or hips, first. Polymyositis affects both sides of your body, and worsens gradually.
Even though the muscle weakness starts in a subtle manner, it can progress to the point where it will be difficult to climb stairs, reach overhead or lift objects. Other polymyositis symptoms and signs include difficulties in speaking and swallowing, fatigue, muscle or joint tenderness, shortness of breath and fatigue.
Polymyositis does not have a known cause, even though infections brought on by viruses, parasites or bacteria can cause the same type of inflammatory myopathies. You may be genetically predisposed to the disease, and the sooner treatment is begun, the better the polymyositis prognosis.
Diseases like polymyositis have characteristics in common with some autoimmune disorders, where your body attacks its own healthy tissues. Many polymyositis patients have a higher level of autoantibodies found in their blood. Some of the complications found in people with polymyositis include difficulty in swallowing, if the disease affects the muscles in your esophagus. This can lead to weight loss and eventual malnutrition, or even aspiration pneumonia.
Polymyositis may be associated with some other similar conditions, and this can affect your polymyositis prognosis. One of these conditions is Raynaud’s syndrome, which causes your extremities to become pale when you expose them to cold.
Your physician may follow up on your polymyositis symptoms, to determine if that is truly the cause. The tests include MRI’s, and muscle testing like elctromyography or a muscle biopsy. Your doctor may also order tests including blood analysis, in order to confirm the polymyositis diagnosis.