Polymyositis is a rare autoimmune disease that affects your muscles, and if left untreated can progress to more severe conditions.

For diagnosis and polymyositis treatment in Brisbane, contact our team at Rheumatology.com.au to make an appointment and talk to a specialist doctor today. Our friendly team of experts are here to help!

What is polymyositis?

Polymyositis is part of a group of diseases, collectively known as autoimmune muscle diseases. This group of diseases causes your immune system to attack the healthy cells in your muscles, causing weakness, discomfort and other symptoms. The different variants are:

  • Polymyositis
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Inclusion Body Myositis
  • Necrotising Autoimmune Myositis (NAM)
  • Juvenile Myositis
  • Myositis is associated with another autoimmune disease, such as mixed connective tissue disease.
Polymyositis is part of a group of autoimmune muscle diseases that are characterised by weakness and fatigue.

Polymyositis is part of a group of autoimmune muscle diseases that are characterised by weakness and fatigue.

What causes polymyositis?

Although the exact cause of polymyositis is not known, we do know that many of these autoimmune muscle conditions are associated with certain autoantibodies or can be triggered by the presence of chemicals such as statin medications (prescribed for high cholesterol).

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Polymyositis causes progressive weakness of your muscles unless treated. It can become difficult to raise your arms above shoulder height or perform simple daily activities.

What are the signs and symptoms of polymyositis?

The most common symptom of polymyositis a patient will experience is muscle weakness. It often feels like a bad virus, with patients suffering fatigue and difficulty getting out of bed or moving around. Sometimes you may experience aching muscles, however, pain is not usually a symptom early on.

Other signs and symptoms of this disease:

  • Worsening muscle weakness over weeks or months.
  • Difficult combing your hair or rising from a low-seated chair.
  • Difficulty raising arms above shoulder height.
  • Torso and/or core weakness.
  • Swallowing difficulties, known as dysphagia.
  • Discomfort in your joints.
  • Generalised fatigue.
  • May sometimes have a rash.

Polymyositis may sometimes target the lungs, causing breathing difficulties. This is known as interstitial lung disease and can lead to serious complications.

How is polymyositis diagnosed?

Polymyositis can be difficult to diagnose and is usually a case of eliminating other causes.

We will take a blood test to look for the presence of an enzyme called creatine kinase (CK). High levels of CK indicate an issue, such as damage or inflammation, of your muscles. An elevated CK can be the result of other health concerns such as thyroid disease, dehydration or toxins. If that's the case, your CK will return to normal once these conditions are treated. In polymyositis, your CK will remain high.

We can use EMG (electromyography) and MRIs to test for muscle abnormalities, swelling and injury. These tests can also pinpoint the affected area of your muscles, which will guide a surgeon on where to take a muscle biopsy. This muscle biopsy may be required for definitive diagnosis of polymyositis.

What are the treatment options for polymyositis?

Although there is currently no cure for polymyositis, we have highly effective treatment options.

Most patients go into remission after successful therapy and can return to regular activities. It can take several years of therapy to achieve full symptomatic relief from this disease.

Medication to treat polymyositis

There are several different types of medications we can use to provide symptomatic relief for patients from polymyositis.

  • Medications to suppress your immune system
  • Medications to treat inflammation, such as corticosteroids.
  • Other drugs such as cyclophosphamide, are useful in severe cases or when your lungs are affected.
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin

Non-medication methods

At Rheumatology.com.au we believe in holistic health care for the management of chronic diseases, like polymyositis. Using medication with other therapies provides the best results. We recommend other methods such as:

  • Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Heat Therapy
  • Exercise with regular stretching

With effective management, you can live a life free of the discomfort of polymyositis.

How much does it cost for Polymyositis therapy in Brisbane

A holistic health care plan that combines medications with other methods, such as physiotherapy, provides effective management of polymyositis.

How much does it cost for polymyositis therapy in Brisbane?

The cost of treating polymyositis will depend on what diagnostic tests you will need and what medication or other therapy options are required.

Our appointment fees are as follows:

Initial Appointment: $480 (which comes down to $239 after your Medicare Rebate of $240.75 is refunded to you)
Review Appointment: $170 (which comes down to $101 after your Medicare Rebate of $68.90 is refunded to you)
Initial Appointments and Reviews for Pensioners: We offer a reduced consultation fee for our patients on full pensions such as the Aged Pension or a Disability Pension. Please note this reduced fee does not apply to holders of Health Care Cards or Commonwealth Seniors Cards – it’s a special support extended to those on full pensions only.

For more patient information read here.

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ArthritisCARE Rheumatologists

We pool our collective expertise to ensure optimal patient outcomes.

With over 50 years of combined experience, our team of Rheumatologists are highly experienced in joint, bone and muscle diseases. We pride ourselves on our holistic and team-orientated approach and ability to tackle even the most complex diseases.

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Meet Dr Peter Landsberg

In 2016 Dr Peter Landsberg founded Rheumatology.com.au. He has a special interest in Rheumatology and has spent years honing his expertise and skills in treating inflammatory arthritis and connective tissue disorders. He has built a team of top-notch Rheumatologists and support staff to provide friendly, expert care.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You can find all the commonly asked questions about polymyositis disease below:

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