Myositis is a rare disorder that causes the inflammation of skeletal muscles and affects nearly 6 to 11 people per million in the United States of America. The following article provides in-depth information on myositis treatment.
The word myositis is made up of two words myo which means muscle and itis meaning inflammation. When the immune system chronically or persistently inflames muscles in the body, it leads to myositis. Children as well as adults are vulnerable to this disease. The reasons for its development are still not well-known, but doctors believe that it could be caused due to an injury, infection, or autoimmune disease. This disorder develops over a period of time and symptoms range in their severity, usually resulting in the following forms.
Forms of Myositis
PM, also known as idiopathic inflammatory myopathy, chronically inflames skeletal muscles on both sides of the body and weakens them. It develops in the proximal muscles which results in difficulties while performing any physical task. Slowly and progressively the muscles get weakened causing dysphagia, arthritis, heart arrhythmias, shortness of breath, fatigue, and chronic pain in the joints and muscles. It then spreads to other muscles of the body, such as the forearms, wrists, and ankles.
DM inflames the muscles and skin chronically leading to muscle weakness. The most prominent symptom of this form is swelling and appearance of rash on the skin of the affected area. The rash is patchy and can possess bluish-purple or red discolorations. Adults may experience mild fever, weight loss, lung problems, or shortness of breath.
Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM)
IBM inflames the distal and proximal muscles, primarily affecting the arms and legs. This form is noted in people over the age of 50 and is more common in women than men. It leads to the deposition of abnormal proteins and appearance of holes and filamentous inclusions in the muscle cells. It causes dysphagia and weakens the wrist, finger, and thigh muscles.
Juvenile Myositis (JM)
Children usually develop JM with symptoms of skin rash, muscle weakness and pain, or dysphagia.
Myositis can’t be cured, and it can only be managed with a combination of different treatments. Some forms of this disorder are seen with other connective tissue diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. As severity of the muscle inflammation varies from patient to patient, a complete assessment and diagnosis by the doctor is needed to decide the type of treatment one should follow.
A medical therapist uses a combination of drugs while treating a patient. Corticosteroids and some immunosuppressants, like methotrexate and azathioprine are used to treat PM and DM. These drugs slow the functioning of the body’s immune system thereby decreasing its capacity to inflame the muscles and skin. They also help in controlling inflammation, skin rash, pain, and increasing muscle strength. Anti-inflammatory drugs that are non-steroidal are also prescribed for pain relief.
An individually approved stretching exercise program, prescribed by the doctor, can help in strengthening weakened muscles of the arms and legs and preventing permanent muscle shortening. Physical activity helps in improving the quality of life and may also reduce the chances of any future disability.
Dietary intake affects the whole body, so the diet must be well supplied with nutrition to fight infection and restore overall body strength. The following nutrients and supplements are often prescribed by a doctor:
- Coenzyme Q10
- Fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids)
- Calcium and potassium
Reduced stress and rest
A low level of stress and adequate rest is important to build as well as relax the weakened muscles. One can try relaxing forms of meditation like yoga and take frequent breaks to build strength.
Myositis associated illness affects muscles in different parts of the body, such as joints, skin, lungs, heart, or intestine. Although its causes aren’t well understood and it has no cure, patients diagnosed with this disorder can manage their illness with a proper exercise and healthy diet therapy.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.