Myositis – What is it, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Reviewed by Dr. Deepa Kadam

 myositis meaning - livayur

Myositis is a rare autoimmune disease that affects the muscles and causes inflammation. Furthermore, it can cause weakness and even lead to disability. Myositis can be challenging to diagnose, and treatment can vary depending on the type of myositis a person has.

This article dives into what myositis is, the different types of myositis, its causes, symptoms, and how doctors diagnose and treat this condition. Whether you or someone you know has been diagnosed with myositis or is curious about this condition, the information here will provide actionable insights. So, let’s get started!

What is myositis?

Myositis refers to a group of rare autoimmune disorders involving inflammation of the body’s muscles. The term myositis comes from the Greek words “myo,” meaning muscle, and “itis,” meaning inflammation.

There are several types of myositis, including dermatomyositis and polymyositis. Each type of myositis has its symptoms, but they all share the common feature of muscle weakness. In an autoimmune disorder like myositis, the immune system mistakenly attacks its tissues, including the muscles. [1]

What are the symptoms of myositis?

The symptoms of myositis can vary from person to person and may depend on the specific type of myositis they have. Here are a few common ones:

  • Muscle Weakness

It typically affects the muscles closest to the body’s trunk, such as the hips, shoulders, and neck. Myositis muscle weakness can range from mild to severe and can progress over weeks or months if left untreated. [2]

  • Difficulty with Mobility

As muscle weakness progresses, people with myositis may have difficulty with mobility, such as walking. It can affect their quality of life and independence. [3]

  • Muscle Pain and Tenderness

Some people with myositis may experience muscle pain and tenderness.[4]

  • Fatigue

Many people with myositis may experience fatigue, which can range from mild to severe. Fatigue in myositis is usually related to muscle weakness and inflammation. [5]

fatigue - symptoms of myositis

  • Dysphagia

Myositis can sometimes affect the muscles responsible for swallowing, leading to difficulty swallowing or choking on food. It is known as dysphagia and can be a significant health concern. [6]

What are the causes of myositis?

Several factors can contribute to myositis disease, including:

  • Autoimmune disorders

Myositis is often associated with autoimmune disorders like lupus. In these cases, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy muscle tissue, causing inflammation and weakness. [6]

  • Infections

Certain infections can also cause myositis, including HIV, hepatitis C, and Lyme disease. These infections can trigger an immune response that leads to muscle inflammation. [7]

  • Medications

In rare cases, certain medications can cause myositis as a side effect. It is more likely to occur with drugs like statins. [8]

 causes of myositis - medications

  • Genetics

Myositis may have a genetic component, as it can run in families. [9]

Myositis diagnosis

To confirm a diagnosis of myositis, doctors may recommend the following tests:

  • Blood tests

Blood tests can help detect inflammation and autoimmunity markers associated with myositis. These tests can also rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. [10]

  • Electromyography (EMG)

EMG is a test that measures the electrical activity of your muscles. This test can help your doctor assess the severity of muscle weakness and determine which muscles are affected. [11]

  • Imaging tests

Imaging tests like MRI or CT scans can help your doctor visualize the extent of muscle inflammation and damage.

  • Muscle biopsy

Sometimes, your doctor may recommend a muscle biopsy to confirm a diagnosis of myositis. It involves removing a small sample of muscle tissue for analysis in a laboratory. [12]

Prevention of myositis

Here are a few things you can do to reduce your risk and help keep your muscles healthy:

  • Practice good hygiene

Certain infections can trigger myositis, so practicing good hygiene is important to avoid getting sick. It means washing your hands regularly, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and staying up-to-date on your vaccinations.

  • Manage your medications

Some medications, particularly statins, to lower cholesterol, have been linked to myositis. If you’re taking any medications, follow your doctor’s instructions and tell them if you experience any unusual symptoms.

  • Exercise regularly

Regular exercise can help keep your muscles strong and flexible, which may help reduce your risk of muscle inflammation and weakness. Talk to your doctor before considering an exercise-related program.

  • Eat a healthy diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help support overall muscle health. Eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Treatment of myositis

Your doctor will help you create a plan to cure myositis depending on the diagnosis. However, here diet and lifestyle modifications can also help manage symptoms and improve overall health. A healthy diet and lifestyle is essential to support the overall health and well-being. Consider eating a balanced diet rich in whole foods, doing regular exercise and getting plenty of rest. Furthermore, consider practicing stress-reducing activities like yoga and meditation.


  • What does myositis mean?

Myositis is a medical term that refers to inflammation of the muscles.

  • What is myositis disease?

Myositis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the muscles, leading to weakness, pain, and fatigue.

  • What is myositis life expectancy?

The life expectancy of people with myositis depends on the severity of the disease, age, and overall health.

  • What causes myositis?

It is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its muscles, leading to inflammation and damage. [6]


If you or someone you know is experiencing myositis symptoms, seeking medical attention and getting a proper diagnosis is important. It’s important to note that while diet and lifestyle can complement conventional medical treatment, it should not be used as a substitute for medical care. Talk to your doctor and work with them to develop a treatment plan.

Disclaimer : The information provided here is not intended to replace professional medical advice or treatment.


  1. Inflammatory muscle diseases. 30 April 2015
  2. Acute sarcoid myositis with respiratory muscle involvement: case report and review of the literature.
  3. Inclusion body myositis: What most impacts patients’ lives. December 2016
  5. Assessing the content validity of patient-reported outcome measures in adult myositis: A report from the OMERACT myositis working group.
  6. The Impact of Dysphagia in Myositis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. 8 July 2020
  7. Infective myositis. 27 May 2021
  8. Statin-induced myalgia and myositis: an update on pathogenesis and clinical recommendations. 23 February 2018
  9. Genetics in inclusion body myositis. 15 September 2017
  10. Diagnostic Testing and Interpretation of Tests for Autoimmunity. 12 January 2010
  11. Electromyography (EMG).
  12. Muscle Biopsy testing for Myositis.


Dr. Shankar Rao

Dr. Rao has achieved great success in his career, with 5 research projects and 4 books to his credit, as well as a Monograph. In addition to receiving the Bharat Scout & Guide Award from the President of India, Dr Rao has also won the Young Scientist Award from S.V. University, Tirupati.