May is Myositis Awareness Month

Myositis is a collection of several diseases that share the common elements of muscle weakness and/or pain along with an autoimmune component. In adults, these diseases include polymyositis (PM), dermatomyositis (DM), and sporatic inclusion body myositis (sIBM). There is also a juvenile form of DM that affects children (JDM)

More to raise awareness about this rare autoimmune disease of the muscles which includes dermatomyositis, polymyositis, inclusion-body myositis, necrotizing myopathy, and juvenile forms of the disease.

Myositis means muscle inflammation, and can be caused by infection, injury, certain medicines, exercise, and chronic disease. Some of the chronic, or persistent, forms are idiopathic inflammatory myopathies. “Idiopathic” means that the cause is unknown.

Inflammatory myopathies are thought to be autoimmune diseases, meaning the body’s immune system, which normally fights infections and viruses, is misdirected and attacks the body’s own normal, healthy tissue through inflammation, or swelling. All of these diseases can cause muscle weakness, but each type is different

Myositis causes severe muscle pain and weakness, difficulty moving and standing, chronic disability, debilitating skin rashes, and other symptoms.

Patients face other life-threatening disorders, including interstitial lung disease, antisynthetase syndrome, and a higher risk of cancer and other diseases.

Prognosis for the different forms of myositis vary greatly and often depend on the presence of other conditions, such as interstitial lung disease, or certain autoantibody profiles.

Myositis is challenging to diagnose and difficult or impossible to treat. Patients with polymyositis or dermatomyositis are usually treated by rheumatologists, neurologists, rehabilitation specialists, and dermatologists, depending on the nature of the disease.

People who live with myositis face the difficulty of dealing with a chronic illness plus the extra challenge of having a rare disease that most people have never heard of. Because the disease is so rare, it’s hard to find others who understand what one is going through and the challenges posed by myositis.

Source: Myositis Association

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