Polymyositis Vaccine Injuries
What is myositis/polymyositis?
Myositis is a term meaning inflammation in the muscles. There are several types of myositis, the most common being polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Polymyositis is a disease that causes muscles to become irritated and inflamed. The muscles eventually start to break down and become weak. The condition can affect muscles all over the body. This can make even simple movements difficult. Polymyositis is one disease in a group of diseases called inflammatory myopathies.
What are the symptoms of polymyositis?
The condition affects muscles all over the body, and can affect the ability to run, walk, or lift objects. It can also affect the muscles that allow you to eat and breathe. The muscles that are closest to the center of the body tend to be affected the most often.
The common symptoms of polymyositis include:
Muscle pain and stiffness
Muscle weakness, particularly in the abdomen, shoulders, upper arms, and hips
Joint pain and stiffness
Short of breath
Irregular heart rhythms
Polymyositis can make it hard to do daily tasks such as walking up a flight of stairs, lifting up your arms, or getting out of your chair. As inflammation gets worse around the body, pain and weakness may affect the ankles, wrists, and arms. Individuals may experience weight loss due to trouble eating or swallowing.
How is myositis diagnosed?
If you have polymyositis, the diagnostic process starts with a health history and a physical exam to determine how strong your muscles are. Additional laboratory and diagnostic testing will consist of:
Blood tests. These are done to look for signs of muscle inflammation. They also check for abnormal proteins that form in autoimmune disease.
Electromyelogram (EMG). This may be done to find abnormal electrical activity in affected muscles.
MRI. This test uses large magnets and a computer to look for inflammation in the body.
Muscle biopsy. Tiny pieces of tissue are taken to be checked with a microscope.
Other types of myositis include the following:
Dermatomyositis (DM) affects people of all ages and sexes, but is more common among women. It is characterized by a rash that appears on the eyelids, cheeks, nose, back, upper chest, elbows, knees, and knuckles. Muscle weakness often comes later.
Necrotizing autoimmune myopathy or immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy, is a newly defined form of myositis characterized by increased evidence of muscle cell death (necrosis). It was once grouped under the polymyositis diagnosis, but is now considered separate.
Juvenile myositis (JM) is found in children under the age of 18 and is characterized by muscle weakness in the neck, shoulders, back, and torso. Juvenile dermatomyositis also has a red, patchy skin rash.
What causes myositis and polymyositis?
Several viruses and vaccines are among the environmental factors implicated as triggers of autoimmune inflammatory myopathies such as myositis and polymyositis. Case histories report on the onset of dermatomyositis/polymyositis after immunization with various vaccines of patients with probable genetic predisposition. Therefore, based on the literature currently out there, there is evidence that vaccines can and do cause myositis and polymyositis.
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