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Thread: does anyone have polymyositis?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Detroit, MI
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    Default does anyone have polymyositis?

    i just wanted to know if anyone suffers from this? if we have some of the same issues.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Victorville, California
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    Hi Nicole;
    I do not have polymyositis, but here is some information that I found about the condition:
    "Polymyositis is a disease of muscle that presents with inflammation of the muscle fibers. Like Lupus, the cause of the disease is not known. It begins when white blood cells, the immune cells of inflammation, spontaneously invade muscles. The muscles affected are mostly those closest to the trunk or torso. This results in weakness which can be severe. It is a chronic illness with periods of increased symptoms, called flares or relapses, and decreased symptoms, known as remissions (just as in Lupus).
    Polymyositis is slightly more common in females. It affects all age groups, although its onset is most common in middle childhood and in the twenties. Polymyositis can be associated with skin rash and is then referred to as "dermatomyositis." It also can affect other areas of the body and is, therefore, another systemic illness. Occasionally, it is associated with cancer, or with other diseases of connective tissue (such as systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis).
    The symptoms:
    Weakness of muscles is the most common symptom of polymyositis. The muscles involved usually are those that are closest to the trunk of the body (legs and arms). The onset can be gradual or rapid. This results in varying degrees of loss of muscle power and atrophy. The loss of strength can be noticed as difficulty getting up from chairs, climbing stairs or lifting above the shoulders. Trouble with swallowing and weakness lifting the head from the pillow can occur. Occasionally, the muscles ache and are tender to the touch. You can also feel fatigue, a general feeling of discomfort and have weight loss and/or low-grade fever.
    With skin involvement (dermatomyositis), the eyes can be surrounded by a violet discoloration with swelling. There can be scaly reddish discoloration over the knuckles, elbows and knees (Gottron's sign). There can also be reddish rash on the face, neck and upper chest. Hard lumps of calcium deposits can develop in the fatty layer of the skin.
    Heart and lung involvement can lead to irregular heart rhythm, heart failure, and shortness of breath.
    Because polymyositis can present in combination with other illnesses (such as systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis), it can also have overlap features with them, meaning they can have common symptoms.
    Both polymyositis and dermatomyositis can sometimes be associated with cancers, including lymphoma, breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and colon cancer. The cancer risk is reported to be much greater with dermatomyositis than polymyositis.
    Initially, polymyositis is treated with high doses of corticosteroids. They are given because they can have a powerful effect to decrease the inflammation in the muscles. They usually are required for years and their continued use will be based on what the doctor finds related to symptoms, examination and muscle enzyme blood test.
    Corticosteroids may not always adequately improve polymyositis. In these cases, immunosuppressive medications are used. These medications can be effective by suppressing the immune response that attracts the white blood cells of inflammation to the muscles. Many types are now commonly used and others are still experimental. Methotrexate is the most common and can be taken by mouth (Rheumatrex, Trexall) or by injection into the body. Azathioprine (Imuran) is an oral drug and often used. Both can cause liver and bone marrow side effects and require regular blood monitoring.
    I hope that I've been helpful.
    I wish you the best of luck

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