Inflammatory myopathies are a complex group of medical diseases that pertain to muscle inflammation that is considered to be chronic, and is typically accompanied with varying degrees of weakness within the muscles. This is a neurological disorder in which no specific cause has been identified, to date. Inflammatory myopathies have been found in patients that are below the age of eighteen, as well as adults. It has been established that there are at least three various types of myopathies that fall into the “inflammatory” identifier. These types are referred to as Inclusion Body Myositis” or “IBM”, Polymyositis, and also Dermatomyositis.
The Cause of Inflammatory Myopathies
The cause and/or causes of inflammatory myopathies are not known, specifically; however, medical professionals that have studied this group of diseases have established many theories on why patients may experience inflammation within the muscles. This particular set of diseases is considered to be “idiopathic”. This means that there are no specific causes that result in the onset of the inflammation. The diseases have been evaluated by general doctors, as well as neurologists and these professionals do feel as if the types of inflammatory myopathies are autoimmune-based medical disorders. It is believed that the blood cells that fight diseases – the white cells – wage war against the vessels in the body that carry blood from one location to the next. It is also believe that these cells fight against fibers within the muscles, as well as connective tissue throughout the body.
Inflammation throughout the various muscles in the body has been identified with several causes. These causes include experiencing an exposure to a specific medication or substance that the body deems toxic, experiencing a specific allergic-based reaction, and experiencing an infection within the body. In addition to this, conditions that are considered to be rheumatic-based, and even cancer, can result in inflammation throughout the muscles of the body. Typically, by working closely with a doctor, the cause of inflammatory myopathies can be identified on a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately, not every sufferer of this group of neurological diseases can receive an explanation on the official underlying cause of the condition. Many medical doctors who are unable to discover an immediate cause will simply bypass this challenge, and work towards a resolution of the condition so that comfort may be achieved by the patient.
The Symptoms of Inflammatory Myopathies
There are many symptoms of inflammatory myopathies. In general, muscle weakness that is identified as progressive will initiate in the muscles of the body that are close to the area of the body that is identified as the trunk. When inflammation settles into the muscles, the fibers that are a part of those muscles gradually experiences damage. In turn, weakness settles in to the area. When this occurs, the arteries as well as the vessels that work to carry blood through the muscles may be affected. Pain may be experienced in the area in which this occurs and many individuals will start to become extremely exhausted. Many find that walking and other basic movement endeavors are unsuccessful and difficult to engage in on a regular basis.Dermatomyositis produces a skin rash that precedes muscle weakness or occurs with it. Polymyositis may also cause arthritis, shortness of breath, and heart arrhythmias.Inclusion body myositis (IBM) causes progressive muscle weakness and wasting.
Treatment and Prognosis
The treatment and prognosis of inflammatory myopathies varies on an individual basis, as well as by the type of disease that is experienced. This group of diseases is not a group that can typically be completely resolved through medical treatments; however, the symptoms can be treated so that the patient can experience relief. Medications such as prednisone and azathioprine can be beneficial to the individual that suffers from this condition. In addition to medication, physical therapy, rest, and even devices that help to assist in movement may also be beneficial. Intravenous immunoglobulin can be useful for those with dermatomyositis or polymyositis.
Inflammatory myopathies can be challenging to endure, and must be treated, and with the right treatment a patient may usually live comfortably.