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Polymyositis is a rare disorder of the connective tissue. It causes muscles to be inflamed (swollen). The most common symptom is weakness in the muscles closest to the torso. For example, patients may have problems with their shoulder or hip muscles. Patients may have difficulty doing everyday things like:
- Brushing hair
- Pulling a shirt over the head
- Climbing stairs
This condition can happen at any age. It usually occurs in the 40s and 50s. It is more common for blacks than whites. It also affects women more often than men.
Polymyositis is an inflammatory myopathy. Myopathies are diseases of the muscles. No one knows what causes them. They may be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Many doctors think myopathies are autoimmune disorders. This means the body's immune system attacks normal parts of the body.
These tests can help diagnose Polymyositis:
- Gradual muscle weakness, especially in the arms, neck, hips, thighs and shoulders
- Problems swallowing (dysphagia)
- Joint pain
- Muscle tenderness
Treatment focuses on therapies and treatments to improve muscle strength.