What is focus of history for polymyositis?

Updated: Jan 05, 2021
  • Author: Mythili Seetharaman, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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The history of patients with polymyositis or dermatomyositis typically includes the following:

  • Symmetrical, proximal muscle weakness with insidious onset

  • Pain is not a predominant symptom (Myalgias occur in fewer than 30% of patients.)

  • Dysphagia (30%) and aspiration, if pharyngeal and esophageal muscles are involved

  • Arthralgias may be associated

  • Difficulty kneeling, climbing or descending stairs, stepping onto a curb, raising arms, lifting objects, combing hair, and arising from a seated position

  • Weak neck extensors cause difficulty holding the head up

  • Involvement of pelvic girdle usually greater than upper body weakness

  • Cardiac involvement may cause symptoms of pericarditis or cardiomyopathy

  • Characteristic rash on face, trunk, and hands seen in dermatomyositis only

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