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Polymyositis (PM)
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Polymyositis

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Polymyositis is an uncommon disease that causes inflammation in your muscles. Doctors also refer to it as a type of connective tissue disease. Its most noticeable characteristic is muscle weakness, especially in the muscles closest to your trunk, such as your shoulder and hip muscles. As a result, you may find it difficult to get out of chairs, climb stairs, brush your hair or work with your arms over your head. The disease is rarely fatal, but it can be disabling in its more severe forms.

Coping skills

Living with a chronic autoimmune disease can make you wonder at times whether you're up to the challenge. Though it isn't always easy, you're tougher than you think. To help you cope, try supplementing your medical care with the following suggestions:

  • Know your illness. Read all you can about polymyositis and other muscle and autoimmune disorders. Attend lectures and talk to other people who have a similar condition. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor any questions that you may have concerning the illness, your diagnosis or your treatment plan.

  • Be a part of your medical team. Consider yourself, your doctor and your physical therapist as a united front in the fight against your disease. Following the treatment plan you agreed on is vital. Keep your doctor updated on any new signs or symptoms you may experience. Regularly perform the physical exercises prescribed for you.

  • Rest before you get tired. Don't wait until you're exhausted to rest. This will only set you back further as your body tries to recuperate. Learning to pace yourself can help you maintain a consistent level of energy, accomplish just as much and feel better emotionally. Learn to say no effectively and ask for help when you need it.

  • Use electric appliances and power tools. Save your energy in the bathroom, in the kitchen or at the workbench by using electric appliances such as toothbrushes, can openers and screwdrivers.

  • Accept your emotions. Denial, anger and frustration are normal feelings to have when you must deal with an illness. Things don't seem normal or fair and likely seem out of your control. Feelings of fear and isolation are common, so stay close to your family and friends. Try to maintain your daily routine as best you can and don't neglect doing those things you enjoy. Many people find support groups to be a helpful resource.

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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Last Modified : 03/15/08 01:54 AM