Myositis is a medical term that describes inflammation of muscle tissue, “myo” being a prefix denoting muscle, and “itis” being a suffix denoting inflammation of tissue. Putting them together gives “Myositis”, i.e. muscle inflammation.

In every-day life, inflammation is most commonly experienced as the swelling around the site of wounds and around muscle and joint injuries. But, with the conditions known collectively as Myositis, the inflammation is within the muscle tissue as a chronic autoimmune response.

The most common defined forms of Myositis are:

  • Dermatomyositis;
  • Polymyositis;
  • Inclusion Body Myositis; and
  • Juvenile Myositis.

See Information Sheets for more information.

Video was prepared with support from Civic Solutions Inc and Griffith Film School.

In addition there are some rare and ill defined overlaps of the above, other versions that are even rarer still eg Interstitial Myositis, Antisynthetase Syndrome, Mixed Connective Tissue disease and yet other very rare, acute and aggressive versions requiring urgent hospitalisation eg Necrotising Myositis and Orbital Myositis.

The seriousness of these diseases lies in the fact that the body’s inflammatory response is turned against us causing our autoimmune system to attack and destroy our own muscle tissue. Once gone the muscle cannot be regenerated (although there are research studies working on this) and over time this can result in a progressive and cumulative loss of muscle that leads to a state of weakness and disability. Other symptoms may include pain, fatigue, trouble swallowing, shortness of breath, lung disease, fevers and weight loss. Patients often have difficulty climbing stairs, rising from a seated position, turning over in bed, raising their arms over their head and grasping items with their hands, and many become prone to unexpected falls. Symptoms can appear gradually, over a period of months or years or may develop rapidly within days or weeks. In rare  instances with some of the diseases remission can occur. In the case of Necrotising Myositis, urgent medical care is required due to the aggressive nature of the attack on the muscles putting limbs or even our life at risk.

Copyright 2016

The Myositis Association-Australia Incorporated