At ArthritisCARE, we are committed to providing our patients with the best possible polymyositis treatment in Brisbane. Our team of medical professionals is highly trained and experienced in treating this condition and can help you manage the symptoms and achieve a better quality of life.
A simple explanation of polymyositis
Polymyositis is part of a group of autoimmune musculoskeletal conditions that cause inflammation and damage to the affected joint and surrounding area. These conditions cause an otherwise healthy immune system to start attacking healthy muscle tissue. There are several different types of these autoimmune muscle diseases:
- Inclusion Body Myositis
- Necrotizing autoimmune myositis (NAM)
- Juvenile Myositis
- Myositis is associated with other autoimmune diseases, such as mixed connective tissue disease.
Polymyositis belongs to a group of musculoskeletal conditions. This particular form affects the shoulders, neck, hips, and back in particular.
What are the causes of polymyositis?
The exact cause of polymyositis is unknown, but it is believed to be associated with certain autoantibodies or triggered by chemicals.
One such chemical trigger comes from statins, a group of medications that are prescribed for high cholesterol. Very rarely, statins may cause Necrotising autoimmune myopathy (NAM).
Some autoantibodies, referred to as “antisynthetase antibodies,” have been found to target specific enzymes in the DNA and RNA of a person’s cells. These, as well as other antibodies that may cause polymyositis, can be identified through blood tests.
What are the signs and symptoms of polymyositis?
Polymyositis symptoms vary from person to person, but common signs and symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness, especially in the neck, shoulders, hips, and back
- viral-like symptoms
- Muscle aches and stiffness
- Difficulty standing up from a seated position or climbing stairs
- A weak grip or difficulty holding objects
Rashes may be present too, although this is more common with dermatomyositis. This rash presents as an unusual sunburn or a purplish colour on the chest or face, occasionally with thick, raised red areas over the knuckles or hands.
Occasionally, this disease may also affect the lungs, resulting in interstitial lung disease. This may cause serious complications, such as shortness of breath.
People with polymyositis usually present with the weakening of muscles, difficulty performing everyday tasks or lifting their arms,
fatigue, and viral infection-type signs.
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How do we diagnose polymyositis?
Diagnosing polymyositis can be challenging, as the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. It may also be associated with another autoimmune disease, such as scleroderma, lupus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjogren’s syndrome.
At ArthritisCARE, we use a combination of physical examinations, blood tests, and imaging studies to diagnose polymyositis. In some cases, a muscle biopsy may also be required.
Blood tests: We can check for an enzyme called creatine kinase (CK), where elevated levels indicate muscle damage. This can be elevated with other conditions too, so we will need to rule those out in order to diagnose polymyositis. We can also test for autoantibodies and muscle-specific antibodies.
EMG, or electromyography, can identify abnormalities in muscles.
MRI scans can show areas of muscle that are affected, which shows a surgeon where to get an accurate muscle biopsy. This biopsy is considered the most definitive test for diagnosing polymyositis.
What options are there for polymyositis treatment in Brisbane?
At ArthritisCARE, we offer a range of treatment options for polymyositis, including medications and non-medical management. Some cases respond very well to treatment; others may be less responsive. A specialist Rheumatologist can help determine the best course of therapy that can manage your symptoms and may lead to remission.
We recommend a combination of physiotherapy, medication, and light exercise to help with polymyositis.
Medications to manage polymyositis
Your Rheumatologist can prescribe one or more medications for polymyositis:
- Corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory medications reduce inflammation and help slow down the progression of the disease.
- Immunosuppressants such as prednisalone help to reduce the activity of the immune system, which can reduce the inflammation in the muscles.
- Disease-Modifying Drugs like azathioprine, mycophenolate, methotrexate, and hydroxychloroquine help “switch” off the disease.
In cases of severe disease or if your lungs have been affected, your Rheumatologist may prescribe other medications such as cyclophosphamide, rituximab, or intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) infusions.
Non-medical management of polymyositis.
We also recommend non-medical therapies to improve your overall health and help your body fight the disease.
- Physiotherapy helps improve muscle strength and flexibility.
- Exercise regularly to improve your health and strengthen your body.
- Occupational therapy to manage daily activities despite muscle weakness
How much does polymyositis treatment cost in Brisbane?
The cost of polymyositis treatment can vary depending on the specific treatment plan and the severity of the condition. At ArthritisCARE, we offer affordable treatment options and work with our patients to ensure that they receive the care they need. You can see our Frequently Asked Questions page for up-to-date information on our appointment costs and Medicare rebates.
Why choose ArthritisCARE for your polymyositis
treatment in Brisbane?
At ArthritisCARE, our team of highly skilled and compassionate Rheumatologists and support staff are dedicated to providing expert and holistic care to all our patients. Our team is committed to providing personalised care and support to each individual, ensuring they receive the best possible treatment and outcomes.
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The ArthritisCARE team of rheumatoid specialists in Brisbane has many years of experience and offers you a choice of both male and female Rheumatologists in Brisbane. Our goal is to ensure that you feel comfortable working with us so that we can collaboratively treat your condition and significantly improve the way you feel. Each and every day.
Avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort. Contact us to set up an appointment for a comprehensive, expert medical review.
You can find all the commonly asked questions about polymyositis below:
You should see a Rheumatologist who specialises in the treatment of autoimmune and connective tissue diseases, like polymyositis. If other organs are involved, such as your kidneys, you may need to see a renal specialist to manage your kidney health and function.
There is no single best treatment for polymyositis, as it depends on the severity of the disease and the patient’s individual needs. Therapy typically involves a combination of medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications to provide relief, manage inflammation and other signs, and improve your quality of life.
Although there is no current cure for polymyositis, with early intervention and management, you can achieve “remission”. People can make a full recovery and return to normal life, such as playing sports; however, they may need to remain on treatments for several years to ensure they are in full remission.
Polymyositis is part of a group of muscle diseases that result in inflammation of your muscles and the tissues around them, such as the blood vessels that supply the affected area of muscles.
With proper management and treatments, many people with polymyositis can lead full and active lives. It is important to start treatment as early as possible to avoid severe polymyositis or the involvement of other organs such as your lungs, heart, or kidneys.
Yes, exercise is often recommended as part of the therapy plan for polymyositis. However, it is important to consult with your doctor and a physiotherapist to determine the appropriate level of exercise for your condition.
While Neurologists may be involved in the diagnosis of polymyositis, the primary doctor who treats polymyositis is a Rheumatologist who specialises in autoimmune disorders, connective tissue diseases, and all forms of arthritis.
The exact cause of polymyositis is unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks and damages healthy muscle tissue. There are no known risk factors, except for being a woman.
The life expectancy for people with polymyositis varies depending on the severity of the disease and the patient’s overall health. With proper management and early intervention, many people can lead long and fulfilling lives.
Muscle weakness is a common symptom of early polymyositis; however, pain may not occur until the disease has significantly progressed beyond the early warning signs. Pain management is often part of the treatment plan for polymyositis in the later stages.
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