Polymyositis

Polymyositis is a muscle disease that causes severe inflammation on the skeletal muscles retarding the movement and flexibility of muscles. Though it can attack people of any age, still it very often affects adults who have crossed 40 or 50.

Some of the common signs of polymyositis are difficulty in moving muscles, weakness in joints, difficulty in speaking and swallowing, extreme tiredness and breathing problem. The muscles that are most affected by this disorder are thigh muscles, hip muscles and the muscles in the arms and neck region. The symptoms do not appear all of a sudden and the muscles get weakened progressively and the disorder gets worsened as time passes. After certain period, the person may find it extremely difficult to lift objects or stand erect and even moving his head.

The main cause for polymyositis is attributed to lowered immunity level. The body attacks the immune system by mistake which is a condition called autoimmune disorder in which the antibodies are produced to attack the body’s healthy cells and tissues. These are called auto-antibodies which are normally observed in persons suffering from polymyositis.

The state of polymyositis cannot be cured completely but the symptoms can be prevented and controlled. Corticosteroids are given in capsules and by injection to suppress the action of immune system. Depending on the condition and intensity of illness, the doctor will start on high dosage of steroids initially and gradually tapers it as muscles gain strength.

To protect the patient from side effects, calcium and vitamin D are also given for strengthening the bones. For some people, corticosteroid is supplemented along with certain drugs to reduce the side effects. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is given for producing healthy antibodies in the affected person. Usually this treatment is given through IV fluids to bring drastic changes and flexible muscle movement.

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