Polymyositis – Lifestyle Options

(peaceful string music) – So I think lifestyle options again, not specific necessarily to polymyositis, but certainly including
it, is that often these effect the people in
the prime of their life. And so, lifestyle
becomes one of self care. Frequently, people who are working jobs with stressful hours, long
hours, I sometimes do ask them to take a break to
take care of themselves. Most people can remain
employed and have a wonderful quality of life, but it
often is a conversation to have a reality check,
realizing that there may be some time off
and needing to care for ones self more than usual. I find that patients
really report a lot of fatigue and decreased muscle endurance. And I think it takes a little bit of time to know ones body and to
be able essentially to titrate the amount of activity really for the lack of a
better word that you do based on what you’ve
learned from the previous day and the previous week. So I think lifestyle becomes
one that’s tailored to you that you figure out on a day
to day, trial and error basis. (soft music) People always ask about
diet and autoimmune disease, and I think that really sad part about it is that diet is underappreciated
in general, in health. And physicians are not always trained to concentrate on diet. I would say that’s one of
the number one questions I get asked by patients, and
really what the literature would say is that we don’t know. I think that it probably
goes without saying, that common sense is to
avoid processed foods, to have a whole foods
approach, and to try maintain normal weight; particularly
in muscle diseases. The reason that weight
control is important is not only that one is
actually carrying around a lot of weight and it’s hard when your muscles are effected and you’re weaker, but also that there’s a
fair amount of research that shows that every
little fat cell is actually an inflammatory cell unto itself. So with any weight loss,
you’re likely reducing you inflammatory burden. So I think the main tenets of diet are whole foods, decrease processed foods, and try to maintain a normal weight. People ask often about protein. Whether protein is good for the muscle. In general, protein keeps
you full and is probably a reasonable source of
calories and energy, but again, there’s no specific studies that focus on the composition
of diet and polymyositis, or really other autoimmune
diseases to a great extent. (upbeat music) Yeah, I think people
ask a lot about what was called alternative
medicine not too long ago, and now is called complementary medicine, which I think is a better
term because I think that we can each learn from each other in those disciplines where
allopathic or traditional medicine can certainly learn from our counter parts in holistic health. Acupuncture is helpful for some. Once again, this is
not studied rigorously, but empirically many
people find it helpful to reduce the tension in the muscle or just overall have a feeling
of balance and feeling well. As far as supplements,
some people take creatine which is a muscle enhancing supplement. Again, there really is
not a whole lot of data that says it’s helpful but
there’s relatively little harm. And so I usually tell patients
if they want to try it, to give themselves a three month trial. I think the last supplement that’s worth discussing is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is general deficient
in so many Americans, and that’s for a variety of reasons, like wearing sunscreen appropriately, probably not having as much sun exposure, and that we don’t get a
lot from food sources. Vitamin D probably has a unique component in the muscle because
some of the receptors for Vitamin D actually lie in the muscle. So it’s a unique thought
that optimizing Vitamin D may in fact help muscle strength, however again it hasn’t been
studied rigorously just yet. So I guess the last
things that I would say regarding lifestyle are that self care is such an important part of healing. And I think beyond medicines
which have some side effects, one needs to care for
themselves holistically. Massage, meditation,
and really just taking a holistic approach, in
addition to the medications your doctors may
prescribe, is an incredibly important part of not
only fighting the disease, but doing that by getting well. (upbeat music)

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