Unknown. Probably has genetic and autoimmune components.


Generalized muscle pain, loss of muscle mass, difficulty climbing stairs or arising from a seated position, difficulty swallowing

Mortality Rate



Prednisone, immunoglobulin, physiotherapy

Show Information

Polymyositis is a generalized systemic chronic inflammation of the muscles that causes muscle pain and wasting of the affected muscles. As a result, the patient loses strength in the muscles, particularly those in the pelvis.

The cause of polymyositis is unknown. It is currently believed to be the result of genetics, an autoimmune response and a viral infection. It is also associated with Lyme disease and toxoplasmosis.

In order to establish a definitive diagnosis, a patient must meet four criteria:

Once confirmed, steroids are indicated. Patients are generally started on prednisone and are moved to more powerful immunosuppressants if they do not improved. Immunoglobulin and physiotherapy can also be helpful.

Polymyositis at Wikipedia

Polymyositis at Mayo Clinic

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