Polymyositis is a relatively rare health issue that affects the nature of the connective tissue in the body. When left untreated, this condition can have a severe effect on the skeletal muscles, making it increasingly difficult for the individual to engage in any type of movement. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this ailment and regain a full range of movement.
While polymyositis can occur with just about anyone of any age, the condition usually attacks people between the ages of thirty and fifty. Women are more likely to develop polymyositis than men, with black women having the highest degree of risk. At present, there is no consensus on why polymyositis develops, although there is some sort for the idea that certain people are genetically predisposed to the condition. Starting out as what is often thought to be nothing more than stiffness due to some sort of excess physical strain, the condition will slowly develop until movement becomes extremely difficult and there is a constant sense of pain throughout the body.
There are other symptoms that often accompany the loss of movement and general aching feeling. The individual may find it difficult to swallow, and also find that the ability to enunciate clearly becomes increasingly difficult. Tenderness around the joints is common, as is shortness of breath after attempting any type of physical activity. Over time, the individual may begin to experience fatigue that is present even after a good night’s rest.
While there is no cure for polymyositis, the condition can be regulated and the patient suffering with this condition can enjoy a normal quality of life. Corticosteroids can help minimize the amount of inflammation in the muscles, making it easier to move about. The administration of immunoglobulin through intravenous means may also help to subdue antibodies that attack muscle tissue and cause the inflammation. There is some evidence that the use of tacrolimus, a drug used to minimize the chances of organ rejection after a transplant, may also have a beneficial impact on polymyositis.
Other support treatments may help patients cope with this health condition. Physical therapy can be helpful in improving muscle strength and increasing the range of motion. Dieticians can help patients learn how to prepare nutritious meals that are easier to swallow. Speech therapy may help make it easier to pronounce certain words that became harder to manage as a result of the polymyositis. While the degree of success will vary, there is a good chance that the individual can make adjustments using these strategies and be able to enjoy a normal life span that is relatively free of discomfort.