Myositis: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment

Posted On Mar 23, 2023

6 Min Read

Department of Rheumatology

Manipal Hospitals

Treatment for Myositis in Bangalore

Myositis is a rare autoimmune disease that causes muscle inflammation and weakness. The muscles most commonly affected are those in the hips, thighs, shoulders, upper arms, neck, and upper back. The inflammation can also affect other organs, such as the lungs, heart, and skin. Myositis can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms, such as muscle weakness and fatigue, are similar to those of other conditions. It is usually treated with a combination of medications, physical therapy, and other supportive care. According to the top rheumatologists in Bangalore, the prognosis for people with myositis varies depending on the severity of the condition and how well it is managed.

What Causes Myositis?

Myositis is an inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness and inflammation. The exact cause of myositis is not fully understood, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy muscle tissue. Some cases of myositis are also associated with certain viruses or other infections, as well as certain medications. Additionally, some people with certain genetic makeup may be more susceptible to developing the disease.

Symptoms of Myositis

Myositis is a rare autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and weakness in the muscles. Patients with myositis suffer from various symptoms like weakness in the muscles, especially those in the proximal (closer to the centre of the body) muscles, such as the hips, shoulders, neck, and upper arms and legs. Other common symptoms include:

  1. Difficulty getting up from a chair or bed

  2. Falling or stumbling while walking

  3. Difficulty climbing stairs.

  4. Difficulty with fine motor tasks, such as buttoning a shirt or writing with a pen

  5. Swelling or inflammation in the muscles

  6. Fatigue

  7. Weight loss

  8. Difficulty swallowing or speaking.

Types of Myositis

There are several different types of myositis, which is a group of rare inflammatory muscle diseases. The main types of myositis include:

  • Polymyositis

  • Dermatomyositis

  • Inclusion body myositis

  • Necrotizing autoimmune myopathy

  • Juvenile myositis

Let’s understand each type of myositis in detail.

  • Polymyositis

This type of myositis affects the skeletal muscles, which are responsible for movement. It can cause weakness in the muscles of the neck, upper arms, and hips, as well as difficulty swallowing and breathing.

  • Dermatomyositis

This type of myositis affects both the muscles and the skin. It can cause a distinctive skin rash, as well as muscle weakness.

  • Inclusion Body Myositis

This type of myositis typically affects older adults and causes progressive muscle weakness, particularly in the muscles of the hands, wrists, and legs.

  • Necrotizing Autoimmune Myopathy

This is a rare and severe form of myositis that causes muscle weakness and wasting, as well as muscle pain.

  • Juvenile Myositis

This type of myositis affects children and can cause muscle weakness and fatigue, as well as a skin rash.

How to Prevent Myositis?

There is currently no known way to prevent myositis. Because the exact cause of the disease is not fully understood, it is difficult to develop methods for preventing it. However, some general measures you can take to maintain good health and reduce the risk of autoimmune disorder or viral infections include:

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet

  • Exercising regularly

  • Getting enough sleep

  • Managing stress through relaxation techniques or other methods.

  • Avoiding smoking, alcohol and illegal drugs.

  • Getting vaccinated against certain viruses such as the flu.

It's important to follow your doctor's instructions and take any prescribed medications as directed to manage the disease and prevent potential complications. It's also crucial to have follow-ups regularly with your rheumatologist and physical therapist, in order to reduce the risks of injuries and to improve your muscle strength.

How is Myositis Diagnosed?

Myositis can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be similar to those of other conditions. There is no single test that can diagnose myositis, so a combination of tests and procedures may be needed to make a diagnosis.

Here are some of the tests and procedures that may be used before the specialists start the right treatment for myositis in Bangalore:

  • Physical Examination

The doctor will perform a physical examination to check for muscle weakness and wasting, as well as any other physical signs of myositis.

  • Blood Tests

Blood tests can help to detect inflammation and check for specific antibodies that are often present in people with myositis.

  • Electromyography (EMG)

This test measures the electrical activity of muscles. It can help to determine if muscle weakness is caused by myositis or by another condition.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

An MRI can help to visualise the muscles and detect any abnormalities or signs of inflammation.

  • Muscle Biopsy

A muscle biopsy involves removing a small piece of muscle tissue for laboratory testing. This can help to confirm a diagnosis of myositis and determine the specific type of myositis present.

When Should One Visit a Doctor?

It's important to see a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of myositis. Some common symptoms include muscle weakness, fatigue, and pain. If you have these symptoms and also have a rash, fever or joint pain, it's especially important to seek medical attention as these signs can be indicative of myositis.

If you have a family history of myositis or an autoimmune disorder, or you have been exposed to certain drugs or viruses, you should also consider talking to your doctor, as these factors may put you at higher risk for developing myositis.

Treatment Options for Myositis

There are several different treatment options for myositis, and the specific treatment plan will depend on the type and severity of the condition, as well as the individual needs and preferences of the patient. Here are some of the ways that myositis may be treated:

  • Corticosteroids

These medications are used to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. They may be given as pills or injections.

  • Immunosuppressants

These medications work by suppressing the immune system and may be used in combination with corticosteroids. Examples include methotrexate and azathioprine.

  • Biologics

These are newer medications that target specific proteins involved in the immune response. They may be used in cases where other treatments have not been effective.

  • Plasma Exchange

This procedure involves removing the patient's plasma (the liquid portion of the blood) and replacing it with fresh plasma or a special solution. It can help to remove harmful substances from the blood and reduce inflammation.

  • Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help to improve muscle strength and function, and may be recommended for patients with myositis.

  • Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy can help patients with myositis to manage daily activities and improve their quality of life.

It's important to note that treatment for myositis is often ongoing and may need to be adjusted over time based on the patient's response and the course of the disease. It's also important for patients to work closely with their healthcare team to develop a treatment plan that meets their needs.

Risk Factors and Complications of Myositis

Myositis is a rare and complex condition that can cause a range of complications and affect various body systems. Here are some of the potential complications and risk factors associated with myositis:

  • Weakness and Muscle Wasting

Myositis can cause muscle weakness and wasting, which can affect the ability to perform daily activities such as walking, dressing, and climbing stairs.

  • Difficulty Swallowing

Myositis can weaken the muscles involved in swallowing, which can lead to difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) and an increased risk of aspiration (inhaling food or liquids into the lungs).

  • Respiratory Problems

Myositis can cause weakness in the muscles used for breathing, leading to respiratory problems and an increased risk of pneumonia.

  • Heart Problems

Myositis can cause inflammation in the heart muscle (myocarditis), which can lead to heart failure.

  • Skin Problems

Dermatomyositis, a type of myositis, can cause a distinctive skin rash, as well as skin abnormalities and infections.

  • Increased Risk of Cancer

People with myositis have an increased risk of developing cancer, particularly lung cancer.

  • Risk Factors

Some factors that may increase the risk of developing myositis include older age, female sex, and a family history of autoimmune diseases.

Myositis can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, and it's important for patients to work closely with their healthcare team to manage their condition and prevent complications.

Some frequently asked questions on myositis with their respective answers are listed below:

  • What is Myositis?

Myositis is a group of inflammatory muscle diseases that cause muscle weakness and inflammation. It can affect people of all ages and can have various causes.

  • What are the Symptoms of Myositis?

Symptoms of myositis include muscle weakness, fatigue, muscle pain or tenderness, difficulty climbing stairs or getting up from a chair, and difficulty swallowing. Other symptoms can include a fever, weight loss, and skin rashes.

  • How is Myositis Diagnosed?

Myositis is usually diagnosed by a combination of a physical examination, blood tests, and imaging studies. Electromyography (EMG) and muscle biopsy are also often used to help diagnose the condition.

  • How is Myositis Treated?

Treatment for myositis at the best rheumatology hospital in Bangalore varies depending on the type and severity of the condition, but may include medications such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and physical therapy.

  • Is Myositis a Rare Condition?

Myositis is a relatively rare condition, with an estimated frequency of 20 cases per million population. It can be difficult to diagnose and may be underdiagnosed.

  • Is physical Therapy an Important Aspect of Management of Myositis?

Yes, physical therapies are crucial when a patient receives pharmacological treatments. Due to the patient's muscles being weak, physical therapy will be needed. It is challenging to restore movement following therapy since the muscles stay in the resting position for a long time.