Polymyositis - Symptoms and Signs

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

What symptoms and signs did you experience with your polymyositis?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver

* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!

I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white square:

What are symptoms of polymyositis?

Weakness of muscles is the most common symptom of polymyositis. The muscles involved usually are those that are closest to the trunk of the body. The onset can be gradual or rapid. This results in varying degrees of loss of muscle power and atrophy. The loss of strength can be noticed as difficulty getting up from chairs, walking, climbing stairs, or lifting above the shoulders. Trouble with swallowing and weakness lifting the head from the pillow can occur. Occasionally, the muscles ache and are tender to the touch.

Patients can also feel fatigue, a general feeling of discomfort, and have weight loss and/or low-grade fever.

With skin involvement (dermatomyositis), the eyes can be surrounded by a violet discoloration with swelling. There can be scaly reddish discoloration over the knuckles, elbows, and knees (Gottron's sign). There can also be reddish rash on the face, neck, and upper chest. Hard lumps of calcium deposits can develop in the fatty layer of the skin, most commonly in childhood dermatomyositis.

Heart and lung involvement can lead to irregular heart rhythm, heart failure, and inflammation of the lungs with shortness of breath.

Because polymyositis can appear in combination with other illnesses (see related articles on systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis), it can also have overlap features with them. These illnesses are discussed elsewhere.

Both polymyositis and dermatomyositis can sometimes be associated with cancers, including lymphoma, breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and colon cancer. The cancer risk is reported to be much greater with dermatomyositis than polymyositis.

Return to Polymyositis

See what others are saying

Comment from: mrstwells, Female (Patient) Published: October 27

I am being screened for polymyositis. I was initially thought to have lupus, but it was ruled out. Lots of pain in the legs, hips and shoulders, and arms. I have difficulty with climbing stairs, and rising from a chair. I have had elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) over 3 years (11 to 15), creatine kinase (CK) level is 279. I wonder if this elevation is high enough to be considered high for polymyositis.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: Martie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 24

I was a full time registered nurse on a medical surgery floor. I noticed intolerance and fatigue in my legs, but brushed it off as getting older. Fatigue was getting worse as weeks wore on. I turned 66 in June of 2012, and decided to retire in July. I was diagnosed with polydermatomyositis in September 2012. By then I could not rise from a seated position, or get up from the toilet. I could not raise my arms up to brush hair, could not raise my head from pillow. Turning over and getting out of bed was awful. I had to use walker with raised seat. I was diagnosed by blood work and EMG. I was started on high dose of prednisone 80 mg for 1 week, which did not do anything for my muscles, but did wonders for my rheumatoid arthritis. Then I was started on mycophenolate 1 tablet BID, but no improvement. Dose was increased to 2 tablets BID and there was immediate improvement within 3 days. I was able to get up from chairs, brush hair and bathe. One month later medication was reduced to 1 tablet TID. As of today I am still able to rise from seat and move about relatively easy. I still have fatigue at times. I am unable to walk for long distances, but in much better shape than before.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!