Polymyositis is an inflammatory condition leading to muscle weakness and atrophy. These changes are especially prominent in the muscles of the shoulders and hips. When a skin rash is associated with the symptoms of polymyostis, the disorder is known as dermatomyositis. These disorders are both autoimmune diseases. These disorders occur most commonly in children and young adolescents. Middle aged adults are also commonly involved. The disease is more common in women. In adults, particularly in men who develop these disorders, a search for an underlying cancer should be done. These disorders sometimes occur in association with other autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus.
Causes of Polymyositis And Dermatomyositis
These disorders are thought to be autoimmune diseases. What triggers these reactions is not known. However, both of these disorders may occur after the use of certain drugs, may be preceded by bacterial or viral infections and sometimes occurs after administration of some vaccines. Sometimes, these disorders run in families, possibly suggesting a genetic component.
Signs and Symptoms of Polymyositis And Dermatomyositis
The symptoms of polymyositis and dermatomyositis often develop slowly in adults. In children, however, they may occur rapidly. Weakness of the muscles that form the pelvic-girdle and shoulder-girdle muscles, is common. It results in difficulties raising the arms and difficulties getting up from a sitting position. There may be difficulties swallowing or speaking. Fatigue is common and mild fever may occur. The joints may be swollen and painful. Cold hands and cold feet may occur. Weight loss may be seen. Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties may occur if the heart of muscles of respiration are involved. When dermatomyositis occurs, an itchy, skin rash may develop on the face, shoulders, arms and over joints. The eyelids may appear swollen and reddish-purple.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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