Dermatomyositis and polymyositis are connective tissue diseases in which there is muscle weakness and tenderness. The two disorders are very similar, except that dermatomyositis involves the skin as well as the muscles, while polymyositis involves only the muscles. The major manifestation of polymyositis is inflammation leading to destruction of muscle and increasing muscular weakness. As the disease progresses, muscle tissue is replaced by functionless scar tissue. Both have features in common with rhematoid arthritis , lupus , and progressive systemic sclerosis ( scleroderma ). The causes of dermatomyositis and polymyositis are unknown. It appears that abnormal immunological factors are responsible for at least part of inflammatory attack against muscle tissue. The symptoms of muscular weakness usually wax and wane, but in some instances, the disease may progress rapidly. The disease may affect persons of any age, but the peak incidence is in the fifth and sixth decades of life. Women are ...
Polymyositis is a systemic disease, which means it affects the whole body. Symptoms include:
Muscle weakness in the proximal muscles (shoulders, hips, etc.) that makes it difficult to raise the arms over the head, get up from a sitting position, or climb stairs
Problems with the voice (caused by weak throat muscles)
Shortness of breath
Patients may also have:
Loss of appetite
A similar condition called dermatomyositis causes a reddish-purple or red rash on the face or body.
Signs and tests
Muscle weakness and tenderness can be signs of polymyositis. A rash is a sign of a similar condition, dermatomyositis.
Tests may include:
Autoimmune antibodies and inflammation tests
MRI of affected muscles
Total knee replacement (TKR) surgery can do wonders for an arthritic or damaged knee. But TKR is hard on the muscles around the knee. Surgery and the down time after surgery often cause these muscles to lose strength. Weakness is especially bad in the thigh muscles. Much of rehab after TKR involves strengthening the weak muscles around the knee. Electric muscle stimulation (EMS) can help muscles gain strength. It seems odd that simply passing an electrical current through a muscle can build it up, but it's true. EMS is sometimes used to regain strength after spine injuries. EMS has also been shown to help athletes build muscle. These authors tested using EMS in the thigh muscles after TKR. Fifteen patients were given EMS treatments after TKR. They were hooked up to EMS for four hours a day over six weeks. They also had the usual physical therapy. A second group of 15 patients received just the usual therapy. Both groups were checked for walking speed, walking effort, and knee function b...
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