Symptoms of Polymyositis

Symptoms of Polymyositis

The muscle weakness associated with polymyositis involves the muscles closest to the trunk, such as the hips, thighs, shoulders, upper arms and neck. The weakness affects both the left and right sides of the body, and tends to gradually worsen over weeks or months. During this time muscle loss and power atrophy occurs and they become tender when they are touched. A further symptom of Polymyositis' is the presence of pain or inflammation in the muscles. Typical symptoms include problems while walking, lifting arms over the head, walking up the stairs, rising from a chair, or carrying things. Further, some patients have fever, weight los, fatigue, joint pain, or Raynaud’s phenomenon (a problem with blood flow, which causes the fingers or toes to become very cold and discolored). It is important to mention that sometimes pain is not present while polymyositis advances. During this time, muscles may atrophy (they waste away or become bulky) even without feeling any pain during all those weeks or months.

Symptoms showing Complications of Polymyositis:

As a consequence of polymyositis, some patients present complications such as:

  • Dysphagia: Polymyositis can affect the muscles in the esophagus. This leads to problems while swallowing, which in turn may cause weight loss and malnutrition.

  • Aspiration pneumonia. Difficulty swallowing may also lead to breathe food or liquids, including saliva, into the lungs. This condition is known as aspiration, and it can lead to pneumonia.

  • Breathing problems: If polymyositis has affected the chest muscles, breathing problems can be the consequence. Shortness of breath is the most common problem, and in severe cases, respiratory failure may be also a consequence.

  • Dysphonia: This condition may occur when weakness of the muscles that produce the voice is present resulting in a weak-sounding voice.

  • Cardiovascular and lung problems: If heart and lungs are affected, this can lead to irregular heart rhythm, heart failure and inflammation of the lungs with shortness of breath.

  • Cancer: In very few cases, patients have presented lymphoma, breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer and colon cancer while having polymyositis.

Please immediately contact your doctor if you suffer from one or more of the symptoms described above or if unexplained muscle weakness appears.