Reports From National Arthritis Meeting

Dr. Shiel Gives Perspectives Of Interest On Rare Rheumatic Conditions From 2001 Annual Scientific Meeting Of The American College Of Rheumatology

Below are perspectives on key reports presented at the recent national meeting of the American College of Rheumatology:


Rheumatic conditions include a wide variety of both common and rare diseases. We have all heard about the common diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. The rare diseases often do not make it into the public arena and also can have limited access to research. At our national rheumatology meeting, rheumatologists, like myself, are delighted to be able to explore the latest research on these rare conditions. Now, from you can too!

--Dr. Shiel


Polymyositis is an inflammatory disease of the muscle. The cause of this disease is not known. Polymyositis begins when white blood cells, which are the immune cells of inflammation, spontaneously invade muscles. The muscles affected are mostly those closest to the trunk or torso. This results in weakness which can be severe. It is a chronic illness with periods of increased symptoms, called flares or relapses, and decreased symptoms, known as remissions. The diagnosis of polymyositis involves a physical examination of muscle strength, blood tests for muscle enzymes, electrical tests of the muscle and nerves, and confirmation with a muscle biopsy. The treatment of polymyositis involves high doses of cortisone-related medications, immune suppression, and physical therapy.

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