The term ‘Polymyositis’ refers to an uncommon disease that is related to connective tissues. Polymyositis disease is a kind of an inflammatory myopathy that is characterized by weakness and inflammation in the muscles. Although polymyositis disease can occur at any age, it is more commonly seen in adults who are between the age groups of 30 and 50 years. It has also been seen that women are more prone to polymyositis disease than men are.
The exact polymyositis causes are still not very clear. Though infections that are caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites can lead to inflammatory myopathies, preceding infections have still not been identified by doctors. Therefore, it is normally believed by several health experts that the most common polymyositis causes are genetic factors. In the case of inflammatory myopathies, such as polymyositis disease, the immune system usually attacks and destroys the normal components of the body. Therefore, instead of protecting the healthy cells and tissues in the body, form harmful elements like bacteria and viruses, the body actually attacks it own tissues. Unfortunately, it could take weeks or even months for the various signs and symptoms of polymyositis to become evident.
It is not easy to identify when polymyositis started in a person, as the various signs and symptoms associated with this condition appear gradually & can fluctuate on a monthly or weekly basis. However, one of the most common symptoms of polymyositis is the weakness of those skeletal muscles that control bodily movement. This includes mainly those muscles that are the closest to the trunk, such as the neck, arms, shoulders, hips and thighs. Another symptom of this condition is that the weakness felt by a person is usually symmetrical, i.e., it affects both sides of the body. Other common symptoms of polymyositis may include swallowing difficulties, shortness of breath, fatigue, pain in the joints, mild muscle ache and difficulty in speaking.
Although there is no cure for this condition, undergoing a polymyositis treatment can help improve muscle strength and function to a great extent. Most forms of polymyositis treatment include the use of drugs, speech therapy, dietetic assessment, physical therapy and antibody therapy. However, polymyositis prognosis may vary from one individual to the other, as some people may not respond to the drugs and therapies appropriately. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor, as soon as a case of polymyositis disease is diagnosed.
Natural Therapies for Polymyositis
Ganoderma lucidum, known as reishi, comes from a tree fungus used in China and Japan for treatment of autoimmune diseases. It is believed to affect the immune system, but it is not known if it strengthens it. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is an antioxidant. The Lahey Clinic reports, however, that at this date there have been no reliable double-blind placebo-controlled studies done to verify this.
Dr. Ray Sahelian, in his article “Autoimmune Disease Alternative Therapy with Diet, Vitamins, Herbs and Supplements, Natural Treatment,” states omega 3, omega 6, vitamin E and green tea may slow the progress of polymyositis through their effects on the inflammatory process. He also reports vitamin D inhibits proinflammatory processes by suppressing the enhanced activity of immune cells taking part in the autoimmune reaction.
Oral creatine supplements combined with at-home exercises is said to improve functional muscle performance and is used for this purpose by athletes. However, the National Institutes of Health reports there is insufficient evidence to rate its effectiveness for treatment of polymyositis.