Signs and symptoms of polymyositis appear gradually, so it may be difficult to pinpoint when they first started. They may also fluctuate from week to week or month to month.

Polymyositis signs and symptoms include:

  • Progressive muscle weakness
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Mild joint or muscle tenderness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

Polymyositis typically affects the muscles closest to the trunk, particularly those in your hips, thighs, shoulders, upper arms and neck. The weakness is symmetrical, meaning it involves muscles on both the left and right sides of your body.

The disease worsens over time. As muscle weakness progresses, you might find it difficult to climb stairs, rise from a seated position, lift objects or reach overhead.

When to see a doctor
If you develop signs and symptoms associated with polymyositis, see your doctor for an evaluation and diagnosis. If you've already been diagnosed with the condition, contact your doctor if new symptoms occur or if existing symptoms worsen.

Jul. 07, 2011