The primary polymyositis symptoms are severe weaknesses in certain localized muscles. The hips are a common location for this weakness and so are the shoulders, but it can potentially cause problems in any set of muscles. The disorder will often start in one muscle group and then spread to others over time. In some cases, there are other polymyositis symptoms such as fevers, fatigue, and occasionally a skin rash. When a skin rash develops, the disease is usually called dermatomyositis, although functionally, it is the same disorder.
Polymyositis symptoms develop when the immune system starts attacking a person’s muscles. This eventually destroys the muscle tissue at the sight of the attack, which can lead to total muscle failure. If the immune system is controlled in some way, the muscle tissue can potentially recover, but if it isn’t treated, the attacks will generally migrate around the body. Eventually, it can even threaten a person's heart.
The cause of polymyositis symptoms is generally a point of contention among many medical experts. Some people who study the condition think it is caused by some kind of viral infection attacking the muscles, which results in an aggressive immune system response. Others think it may simply be a flaw in the immune system itself.
There are higher incidences of other diseases that sometimes occur in-line with polymyositis symptoms. For example, the disorder is often associated with certain cancers, including bladder cancer, and there are also cases associated with lupus. Doctors are generally uncertain whether these associations are because polymyositis symptoms increase the chances of these illnesses, or whether these diseases are actually causing the polymyositis.
Most polymyositis symptoms develop in people that are beyond the age of 50. The second most common group to have trouble is actually young people in the 14- to 20-year-old age range. Most studies show that the disorder occurs more commonly in women, although the reasons for this are generally unclear.
When treating polymyositis symptoms, doctors generally focus on the inflammation caused by the immune attack. They generally start by using various steroid-based medications. This is often effective by itself, but in some cases, patients may not respond. The next course of action is generally using drugs to temporarily weaken the immune system, but this is somewhat dangerous because it makes the person more vulnerable to other illnesses. Treatment is often very effective in eliminating or at least controlling polymyositis.