Myositis is caused due to inflammation or swelling of connective tissues of the muscles. In the medical world, myositis is actually known as inflammatory myopathies which include a number of muscle diseases like dermatomyositis, polymyositis and inclusion body myositis.
The main cause for myositis in not very clear. However, medical practitioners believe that it is caused due to a weak immune system. Sometimes the white blood cells and antibodies in our body, instead of protecting us, attack our muscles. This attack may be due to certain injury, bacterial or viral infections, or consumption of certain medicines. A person suffering from myositis can feel pain in the muscles of the shoulder, neck, hips, upper arm and thighs.
The symptoms of myositis do not spring up suddenly, but tend to appear slowly. Every patient may experience these ailment symptoms in a different way, and the intensity with which they occur may not be the same. Let us look at some common symptoms that can be found in a person.
Signs of Myositis
- The main symptom of myositis is weakening of the muscles. This may make the muscles tender and cause pain in certain areas of the body. One may face difficulty while doing daily activities like climbing stairs, getting up from a seated position and raising hands above the shoulder. One may also experience tiredness and fatigue without any obvious reason.
- The inflammation or swelling can affect the muscles of the heart leading to heart failure. Sometimes, weakness of the muscles can affect the lungs which can in turn lead to difficulty in breathing and coughing.
- Individuals who have myositis may face difficulty while swallowing food. This happens when myositis affects the upper part of the gullet.
- Abdominal cramps and presence of blood in feces, is another symptom of muscle inflammation. This occurs when myositis leads to occurrence of bleeding ulcers in the stomach and intestine.
- One may experience a prickling sensation on finger and toe nails and bluish marks may appear on them.
- Some less serious symptoms of myositis are weight loss, muscular pain and stiffness, fever, irritation, loss of voice, nasal voice, etc.
- Symptoms of dermatomyositis, polymyositis and inclusion body myositis are usually the same. The only difference is in dermatomyositis, which is caused due to inflammation of blood vessels in the skin. When a person has dermatomyositis, along with muscle pain, he or she will also experience rashes on the skin.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Myositis can be diagnosed by administering blood tests, x-rays, CT scans, MRI or electromyogram. Treatments tend to vary depending upon a patient's age, medical history and severity of disease. Mainly, treatment involves exercise, medication, physical therapy, and rest. Treatment is most effective when myositis is diagnosed in the early stage. If myositis is diagnosed much later from its inception, the patient may not respond to any treatment, worsening his or her condition. Ultimately, the person may have to be bed ridden leading most probably to his or her death.
It is important to remember that myositis cannot be fully cured. Only the patient's condition could be bettered with the help of treatment. People who experience even a slight muscle pain or weakness, should immediately consult a doctor, so that they get a prompt treatment if diagnosed with myositis.