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Polymyositis - adult

  • Symptoms

    Polymyositis is a systemic disease, which means it affects the whole body. Symptoms include:

    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Muscle pain
    • 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:

    • Fatigue
    • Fever
    • Joint pain
    • Loss of appetite
    • Morning stiffness
    • Weight loss

    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
    • CPK
    • Electromyography
    • MRI of affected muscles
    • Muscle biopsy
    • Myoglobin in the urine
    • Serum aldolase

    Patients with this condition must be carefully monitored for cancer.