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Myositis, also known as ‘idiopathic inflammatory myopathy’, refers to muscle inflammation thereby making it difficult for individuals to move. The inflammation is generally caused due to dysfunction of the immune system, which affects or even destroys the healthy muscle fibres. As a result, muscles become fatigued and immobile, thereby losing their functionalities.
Besides skeletal muscles, myositis can also affect the mobility of joints, skin, gastrointestinal tracts, heart, lungs, etc., which may even result in death. According to research, the prevalence of inflammatory myositis is around 14 to 22 cases out of 100,000 population 
|Symptoms||Muscle pain, muscle weakness, fatigue, falling or tripping, trouble breathing and swallowing, depression, unhappiness|
|Complications||Cardiovascular disease, cancer-associated myositis, dysphagia, overlapping autoimmune diseases, interstitial lung disease, infection|
|Causes||Impaired immune system|
|Onset||No particular agent, like germs, causes this disorder. So, there is no specific time after which you can observe the symptoms.|
|Diagnosis||Blood tests, biopsy, MRI scans, and, electromyography|
|Prevention||There is no proven way to prevent myositis, maintaining healthy lifestyle practices and preventing injury usually helps.|
|Medication||Corticosteroid, immunosuppressants and immunoglobulin|
Here is a comprehensive overview of myositis, its causes, symptoms, types, and treatment. Read on to know more.
Myositis can affect different muscles of your body. Among them, shoulders, thighs, hips, neck, back, etc., are the most predominantly affected areas. Here are some major symptoms that you can experience due to myositis :
Due to these myositis symptoms, it may become challenging for you to use your limbs for climbing stairs, lifting things, or making any body movement. The situation may worsen if you avoid medical attention.
Myositis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system assumes healthy tissues to be germs like viruses and bacteria. As a result, the immune system, or more particularly the lymphocytes of white blood cells, mistakenly invades muscle tissues, causing inflammation . If untreated, the inflammation results in the destruction of muscles in the affected organs, leading individuals to become unable to move as though extremely tired.
According to research, infections (parasitic, viral, and bacterial), drugs, malignancies, and mixed connective tissue disorders can also be potential secondary causes of myositis .
There are different types of myositis, as mentioned below :
In this type of myositis, you can notice dark and reddish or purple rashes on the affected areas. These rashes can even appear earlier than weakness in muscles. Mostly, dermatomyositis appears on the nose, cheeks, eyelids, upper chest, back, knuckles, cheeks, and knees. Some patients can also witness hard bumps underneath their skin, which may make it difficult to recognise the disease. The reason for this muscle and skin condition is the inflammation developed in the veins and arteries under muscles and skin . The condition mostly affects women; however, children can also develop the symptoms of dermatomyositis.
Polymyositis causes chronic inflammation and weakness, mostly in muscles near the trunk of the human body. For example, you may experience this in your hips, back, neck and shoulders. It can also develop in the other parts of your body. You can encounter several complications like difficulties in walking or lifting yourself, dry cough and breathing problems. You may also have to deal with dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing .
It is also known as necrotising autoimmune myopathy or NAM. As the name suggests, NAM is marked by ‘necrosis’ which means the death of tissues. From biopsies, studies have also found that in comparison to polymyositis, inflammation is less evident in necrotising myopathy. However, there are instances of significant cell death in necrotising myopathy. Owing to the death of cells and tissues, muscles become weak, and patients may feel exhausted. It becomes difficult to perform even simple activities like standing up and lifting hands over the head .
Sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM) is a common type of this disease. Most patients with this type of myositis are over 50 years of age. Patients may experience complications like frequent falls, difficulties in walking, tripping walks, debilitating grip of hands and fingers, atrophy or shrinking of thigh and forearm muscles, etc. The weakness of muscles becomes more intense gradually as the patients become older. Although there is clear existence of inflammatory cells and autoantibodies within patients’ muscles, the development of sIBM does not contribute to those. The reason for this disorder can also be the degenerative process of human muscle .
As the name suggests, children below 18 years may develop this juvenile myositis (JM). Generally, dermatomyositis is the common form of juvenile myositis. Nevertheless, children also develop juvenile polymyositis. Some common symptoms of the JM are red or purple patches on eyelids or the skin right over the joints, fatigue, irritability, hoarse sound of the voice, swelling in fingernails, difficulty in lifting the head, etc. In the case of juvenile polymyositis, patients may not encounter skin rashes .
You should ideally start your medical treatment for myositis as early as possible. It will help you get the necessary medical attention at the earliest. With the guidance of certified doctors about medicines and therapies, you can reduce the inflammation in your muscles and enhance their performance.
With a quick initiation of the treatment procedure, you can also reduce the chances of developing serious complications of myositis, like overlapping autoimmune diseases or cardiovascular disorders.
Following are some of the tests doctors may conduct for myositis diagnosis :
A blood test is one of the most effective ways to recognise whether an individual has developed myositis. When a muscle degenerates, a certain protein is secreted from within and mixes with the blood. So, blood testing helps physicians to understand signs of a spike in that type of protein . This way, they assess whether there is muscle damage within the blood.
Some common blood tests doctors may conduct to examine the existence of muscle proteins are:
Biopsy is also a standard diagnostic test for myositis. In a biopsy, surgeons take a sample of your muscles from the affected area. They diagnose the sample for damage, swelling or any other changes in the cells.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) lets doctors visualise the inflammation of myositis. It can even detect the existence of inflammation in a suspected area, which is usually not possible to diagnose through biopsy .
Professional radiologists will first apply local anaesthesia to the affected area in this diagnostic process. After this, they insert a needle-like electrode into your muscle. This electrode assists in recording electrical signals that the nerves in the muscles transmit. With the help of the information gathered through this process, they assess whether the weakness and pain in muscles are caused due to nervous or muscular disorders like myositis .
Myositis prognosis may differ from one patient to another, depending on the types of the disorder, other health conditions and their symptoms. For example, some autoantibodies or interstitial lungs disorder also mark their influence on the prognosis of myositis. You need to stay in touch with your physician and follow their guidance. This will help them track your condition more closely .
Some complications may even be fatal for patients. These include cardiovascular problems, interstitial lung disorder and cancer caused due to myositis.
Sporadic inclusion body myositis or sIBM is a type of progressive disorder that does not directly impact the life expectancy of patients. However, its complications, such as difficulties in eating, swallowing, etc., increase the chances of other health issues, which may eventually put their life at risk.
Furthermore, patients may get minor to severe injuries if they fall suddenly due to their muscular inefficiency. For example, such circumstances can lead to injuries in their head, fractures of their bones, etc.
The symptoms of myositis may be different from one patient to another. Naturally, the process for treating myositis is not also straightforward; rather, doctors may proceed with different methods considering symptoms. They may also advise a combination of different procedures to alleviate the condition of patients. Nevertheless, you need to communicate all your complications clearly and in a detailed manner to your doctor so that they can come up with a proper plan to treat your condition.
Here are the different myositis treatment procedures that doctors may advise :
Following are some of the commonly used medications for myositis :
Exercise and physical therapy are also essential modes of treatment as these help in reducing inflammation, weakness and fatigue and increasing body muscles and stamina. Moreover, exercise can also reduce the chances of atrophy of weak muscle cells .
Because of all these benefits, doctors recommend exercises and therapies along with medications. Nevertheless, you must not start without your doctor’s instruction. There are even some situations when you should refrain from exercise, for instance, during inflammatory flare ups.
In self-care, you need to focus on your diet and nutrition, healthy practices for your mind and body, etc. You need to intake food items having calcium, vitamin D, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, etc., to reduce symptoms of myositis . Besides this, you can also go for yoga, acupuncture and meditation to reduce physical and mental stress.
Unfortunately, there is no scientific way which can help you prevent myositis. If you see any symptoms of myositis, you need to contact your doctor immediately. They will help you rule out whether you have really developed the disorder through a systematic diagnostic procedure. If you are diagnosed with myositis, you should initiate the treatment process at an early stage.
Myositis can affect a patient’s daily activities, making it difficult for them to lead a quality life. Following are some of the complications that a patient can witness due to myositis :
There is no definite cost of treatment for myositis. You need to bear in mind that myositis is not a curable disease. You need to stay under the supervision of a certified specialist. The cost will depend on the type of treatment procedure they suggest and the rate of the clinic.
Myositis is a chronic, progressive inflammatory disorder. Start your treatment under a licensed physician immediately after you are diagnosed. It will help to slow down the development of inflammation and muscle weakness.
Nevertheless, due to constant inflation in the prices of treatment facilities and medications, getting the necessary care from a reputed hospital may become financially stressful. Get Navi Health Insurance policy to cover your medical expenses and avail of You can get medical coverage for up to Rs.1 Crore, cashless treatment at more than 10,000 network hospitals, unlimited online consultations, home hospitalisation and other perks at premiums starting at just Rs.235/month. Get a quote now!
Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, consult your doctor to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.
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