Polymyositis Treatment in Metro Atlanta

Overview of Polymyositis

Polymyositis is a rare inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness affecting both sides of the body. It is one of a group of muscle diseases known as inflammatory myopathies. Polymyositis typically develops gradually, causing weakness in the muscles closest to the trunk of the body, such as the thighs, hips, shoulders, and upper arms. Early diagnosis and treatment at Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia (ARG) are essential for managing symptoms and preventing complications.

Symptoms of Polymyositis

  • Muscle Weakness: Gradual weakening of muscles, especially those near the trunk, making activities like climbing stairs, lifting objects, or rising from a seated position difficult.
  • Fatigue: General feeling of tiredness and lack of energy.
  • Difficulty Swallowing: Known as dysphagia, due to weakened throat muscles.
  • Shortness of Breath: Caused by weakening of the chest muscles.
  • Muscle Pain: Aching or tenderness in the affected muscles.

Diagnosis of Polymyositis

  • Medical History and Physical Examination: Conducted by a rheumatologist at Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia to assess symptoms and rule out other conditions.
  • Blood Tests:
    • Creatine Kinase (CK) Levels: Elevated CK levels indicate muscle damage.
    • Autoantibodies: Presence of specific autoantibodies that may suggest polymyositis.
  • Electromyography (EMG): Measures electrical activity in muscles to detect abnormalities.
  • Muscle Biopsy: A small sample of muscle tissue is taken to look for inflammation and other signs of polymyositis.
  • Imaging Tests:
    • MRI: To detect muscle inflammation and damage.

Treatment Options for Polymyositis

  • Medications:
    • Corticosteroids: High doses of corticosteroids are the primary treatment to reduce muscle inflammation.
    • Immunosuppressive Drugs: Such as methotrexate or azathioprine to control the immune system.
    • Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG): Therapy that uses antibodies from healthy donors to help regulate the immune system.
  • Therapies:
    • Physical Therapy: Exercises to improve muscle strength and flexibility.
    • Occupational Therapy: Techniques to perform daily activities safely and efficiently.
    • Speech Therapy: For patients experiencing difficulty swallowing.
  • Lifestyle Changes:
    • Regular Exercise: Engaging in low-impact exercises such as swimming or walking to maintain muscle strength.
    • Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in protein to support muscle health.
    • Stress Management: Techniques such as mindfulness and relaxation exercises.

Living with Polymyositis

  • Symptom Management: Using medications, therapies, and lifestyle changes to manage symptoms and reduce flare-ups.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Keeping up with appointments to monitor disease progression and treatment efficacy.
  • Support Systems: Seeking support from family, friends, or support groups to manage the emotional impact of living with a chronic disease.
  • Education: Learning about the condition and staying informed about new treatments and management strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions | Polymyositis

What causes polymyositis?
The exact cause of polymyositis is unknown, but it is believed to involve an abnormal immune response where the body’s immune system attacks its own muscle tissue.

Is polymyositis hereditary?
There is no clear evidence that polymyositis is hereditary, though genetic factors may contribute to susceptibility.

Can polymyositis be cured?
There is no cure for polymyositis, but its symptoms can be managed effectively with a combination of treatments.

How is polymyositis diagnosed?
Diagnosis involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, blood tests, electromyography (EMG), muscle biopsy, and imaging tests.

What lifestyle changes can help manage polymyositis?
Regular exercise, a healthy diet, stress management, and avoiding smoking can all help manage symptoms and improve overall health.

How can Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia help with polymyositis?
At Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia, we offer comprehensive care for polymyositis, including diagnostic tests, personalized treatment plans, and ongoing management to reduce inflammation and improve muscle strength.

Contact Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia

For comprehensive care for polymyositis, schedule an appointment with Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia. Call us at 404-255-5956 or use our online contact form. We proudly serve patients in the metro Atlanta area and beyond, providing expert care and personalized treatment plans.

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