Polymyositis is a disease of connective tissue in which the muscles (especially the muscles of shoulders and pelvis) are inflamed and gradually lose strength. In one form of this disease (known as dermatomyositis), the skin also starts to burn. Surprisingly, skin inflammation occurs in areas of the body where the disease did not attack the muscles. On the face, shoulders, finger joints or in any bone area of the patient’s body affected by dermatomiozitis, a red or purple rash is likely to occur. People suffering from any form of this disease feel generally ill, weak and occasionally have painful ”attacks” in the muscles.
Polymyositis and dermatomyositis are rare. Approximately 1 in 17,000 people have one or another form of this collagen. Two thirds of the patients are women.
What to do?
Always contact your doctor if you have persistent and stronger muscle pain and / or inexplicable rash. Blood tests and electromyography will confirm the diagnosis. Chances of recovering from polymiozitis or dermatomiozitis are good. These collagenos usually disappear by themselves after several years. The treatment is aimed at alleviating the symptoms. Large doses of corticosteroids are usually given to suppress muscle inflammation. Immunosuppressive agents can help, too. In addition, physical therapy will contribute in reducing the weakness.