Muscles can be affected due to a number of problems, which may range from being mild to intense. Polymyositis is one such disorder which results in inflammation of the muscle tissue. One of the primary polymyositis symptoms is weakness of the muscles.
Without the musculoskeletal system, the plight of the body is unimaginable. This system, which is also called the locomotor system, is one of the vital human body systems, and consists of the skeletal and the muscular system paired together. The main function of the skeletal system is to provide support and structure to the body, whereas the muscular system performs the function of locomotion. At times, owing to some factors, both external as well as internal, the musculoskeletal system may suffer from certain disorders. One such disorder is polymyositis, which is an inflammatory disease of the muscles in the skeletal system.
What is Polymyositis?
As the name suggests, polymyositis is the multiple inflammation of the muscles in the body. Myositis or muscle inflammation is a chronic disorder is which results in the wasting of muscles. This disease, which is also called idiopathic inflammatory myopathy (a disease of the skeletal muscles), can affect individuals of all age groups, affecting children as well as adults. However, this health condition may develop at the age of 30 years and may worsen once the individual enters his 50s.
In some instances, this disorder can also affect persons who are 70 years old. Though people from both the sexes may be affected, for some unknown reasons, this degenerative disease is more commonly seen in women in comparison to men, the ratio being 2:1. Since the symptoms may vary from individual to individual, an exact diagnosis is difficult and it is also often mistaken for muscular dystrophy. In some cases, the muscle inflammation tends to affect the heart muscles, which may prove to be life-threatening.
Symptoms of Polymyositis
Unfortunately, the exact cause of polymyositis is still a mystery, but many doctors believe that it is a kind of autoimmune disease. Some other factors believed to cause this musculoskeletal disorder are a defective gene, or the presence of pathogens or viruses in the body. Polymyositis symptoms gradually occur in some part of the body, making it tough to detect its exact location of this disorder.
- One of the initial symptoms of this inflammatory disease is noticing muscle fatigue or weakness, which begins from the torso and extends to other parts of the body. Though subtle in the beginning, this condition can worsen with the passage of time.
- Muscle cramps and muscle pain can also be felt all over the body. This makes simple tasks like climbing stairs, lifting objects, rising from the chair and even walking a painful one. In some cases, muscle tenderness and painful joints can also be observed.
- Lethargy or fatigue may also set in as a result of weakness. The individual may experience generalized body weakness and may tire soon even after doing minuscule tasks.
- Due to wasted muscles, the affected individual may also find it difficult to speak, since the muscles fail to cooperate. Dysphagia, which is a medical condition where the individual finds it difficult to swallow shortness of breath, trembling of the extremities, clumsiness and keeping the feet apart while standing or walking, etc.
Diagnosis of this condition is a lengthy process and may include a battery of tests like physical exam, MRI and CT scan for in depth examination, electromyography and muscle biopsy to test the strength of the muscles, etc. After the diagnostic tests have been carried out, the doctor may administer symptomatic treatment to relieve this disorder. Drugs may include corticosteroids, tacrolimus and intravenous immunoglobulin etc. Physical therapy may also be recommended by the doctor in order to improve the strength of the muscles.
Timely diagnosis and symptomatic treatment of this chronic disorder can enhance the function and strength of the affected muscles. Apart from this, a healthy lifestyle can prevent the occurrence of any disorder. Wish you good health!