Hyderabad: ‘Myositis might not be dangerous but could be depressing’

Myositis is an autoimmune health condition that affects muscles and in some cases, could cause severe weakness.

Hyderabad: Ever since popular actor Samantha Ruth Prabhu revealed that she has been diagnosed with myositis, people, in general, and her fans, in particular, have been expressing concern and wishing her a speedy recovery. However, not many are aware of the ailment she is suffering from.

Myositis is an autoimmune health condition that affects muscles and in some cases, could cause severe weakness.

Health practitioners in Hyderabad, the city where Samantha is undergoing treatment for her ailment, told IANS that myositis might not be dangerous but could be distressing. Myositis can be cured and one can lead a normal life with the usage of regular medication, proper exercise, a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.

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According to Dr Sharath Chandra Mouli, Consultant Rheumatologist, KIMS Hospitals, exercise plays a major role in the treatment of myositis.

“Exercise is a very important part of treatment for all types of myositis. It can help reduce weakness, give more energy, and build up or restore muscle strength. Exercise and physiotherapy are very important in treating myositis. It’s very important to maintain gentle movement of the muscles and joints. This makes sure that the joints do not become stiff and end up in a fixed position,” he said.

Myositis generally affects proximal muscles which leads to difficulty in getting up from a sitting position and lifting objects higher than shoulder level. This is more common in women and commonly affects children and age groups of 45-60. Rarely this can also occur in other age groups. Myositis caused by a certain virus can be more painful.

Myositis could also be caused because of the use of steroids and statins. Steroids and disease modifying drugs are the standard of care for myositis. Biological therapies for this are available, and in some severe cases, IVIG can be used as the treatment. In the case of dermatomyositis, the skin is affected. In the case of polymyositis, muscles are affected. In a type of myositis, there is a chance of the formation of fibrosis in the lungs.

According to Dr. B. Kishore Reddy, Orthopaedic surgeon and Orthopaedic Oncologist, Amor Hospitals, it might be a challenge to pinpoint the cause of myositis, and in most cases, the exact cause is never known.

“And it is the precise reason this ailment is considered an idiopathic variant. While it usually affects arms, shoulders, legs, spinal muscles, abdomen, etc. symptoms include muscle pain, fatigue, trouble in swallowing. Some patients even experience difficulty while standing up or while climbing stairs or lifting weights.”

On the available treatment protocols, Dr Satyanarayana, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Aware Gleneagles Global Hospital said that like in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, even myositis-linked complications are clinically managed using steroids and immunosuppressive drugs.

“While there are medicines that are recommended for patients suffering from myositis, we also recommend patients to follow physical therapy, including regular exercises, stretching of the body, yoga asanas. Because these physical activities help keep muscles strong, flexible, and also help prevent muscle loss, which in medical terminology is called muscle atrophy.”

“Myositis is the name for a group of rare conditions. The main symptoms are weakness, and muscle pain. This usually gets worse, slowly over time. You may also trip or fall a lot, and be very tired after walking or standing. If you have any of these symptoms you should see a General Medicine practitioner. Myositis is usually caused by a problem with your immune system, where it mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. The types of myositis are Polymyositis, and Dermatomyositis,” said Dr Prathyush, Consultant Orthopaedist and Joint Replacement Surgeon, Century Hospitals.

According to Dr Narasimha, Sr. Consultant Orthopaedics, SLG Hospitals, myositis is an autoimmune disease involving skeletal muscles, more so of proximal joints like shoulder and hip. “It can occur as a part of other autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid or lupus, or even caused by viral infections. Skin, nail, heart, blood vessels may be involved sometimes. Along with clinical examination, muscle enzymes in blood may be elevated, muscles might show abnormal electrical activity. Muscle biopsy is also done. Treatment usually is corticosteroid, immunosuppressants, immunoglobulins or a combination.”

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