Myositis refers to
inflammation of the muscles ("Myo" means muscle and "itis"
means inflammation). Myositis is a term that describes several diseases,
All forms of Myositis
involve chronic, or persistent muscle inflammation, and almost always results in
weakness of muscles, falling down frequently, swelling of feet and legs,
loss of strength and pain in the muscles and joints for many patients with this
Early indications of
inflammation of the muscles may include...
Difficulty in rising
from a chair, climbing steps, lifting the arms and experiencing
falling at random
fatigued after prolonged standing or walking
Loss of strength
throughout the body
in swallowing and labored breathing
It is estimated each year five to seven
out of every one million people will get a form of Myositis.
Lucille and Jim
Kilpatrick at a Support Group Meeting in Dallas, Texas
Although Myositis can affect people of
any age, most children who get the disease are between 5 and 15 years of age and
most adults are between 30 and 60 + years of age. Like many other
inflammatory diseases, most forms of Myositis attack more women than men.
The exception is Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM). This form of Myositis
affects more men than women.
No one is sure what causes Myositis
because Myositis has many forms and probably has many causes. All medical
professionals do not agree about the causes of a Myositis disease.
A physician will run a battery of tests
while processing a diagnosis, asking many questions, a complete examination,
blood tests for numerous diseases or factors; including a blood test for a
muscle enzyme called creatine kinasis or CK, possibly a spinal tap, an
electromyogram (EMG), an MRI and a muscle biopsy. It may be necessary to
repeat many of the tests and biopsies.
Treatments and medications vary from
person to person and will change as the disease progresses. A therapy or medication recommended by
one physician may vary from that of another physician. The severity and types of problems have to be considered as each person's
situation is not the same as another, even though both may be diagnosed as having the
same Myositis disease.
CORTICOSTERIODS: Virtually every
physicians' first prescription is Prednisone. The drug helps with DM, PM,
JDM and to some limited extent, IBM. Often Prednisone creates
more problems in other areas of the body than expected. Some side effects
include weight gain, moon face,
barrel chest, moon belly, depression, mood swings, easy bruising, thinning of
the bones, high blood pressure, cataracts, diarrhea, and diabetes.
Dr. Aziz Shaibani, Director, Nerve & Muscle Center of Texas, Houston
Anyone taking corticosteriods should be
monitored carefully by their physician and should report any new medical
Some physicians will include other
immunosuppressants or corticosteriods which may or may not help every patient.
IMMUNOSUPPRESSANTS: If a patient
does not respond favorably to Prednisone, other drugs called immunosuppressants
(commonly Methotrexate and Azathioprine) are sometimes used. These drugs slow down
the immune system, reducing its ability to attack infections and attack healthy
tissue in persons with autoimmune diseases.
Immunosuppressant drugs are powerful and
can result in side effects such as an upset stomach, diarrhea, loss of appetite,
mouth sores, hair loss, skin rash, chills, fever, and other various effects on some
Myositis, like most forms of muscle
disorders, is a chronic disease. It affects every person
differently. Some people have remissions and flares which may or may not
last for a long time. At the present, IBM patients have little option of
beneficial treatment except IVIg which is an expensive and controversial treatment among the medical professionals.