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Inflammatory Muscle Disease

Arthritis Northwest PLLC -  - Rheumatology

Arthritis Northwest PLLC

Rheumatology located in Spokane, WA & Spokane Valley, WA

Inflammatory muscle disease causes muscle inflammation and symptoms like weakness and reduced function. The leading rheumatologists at Arthritis Northwest PLLC in Spokane, Washington, offer personalized treatment for all types of inflammatory muscle disease. For the care you need in a comfortable and welcoming setting, call the office to book a consultation now. Or, visit us online.

Inflammatory Muscle Disease Q & A

What is inflammatory muscle disease?

Inflammatory muscle disease is an umbrella term for muscle diseases in which an overactive immune system launches an attack on your muscles. The resulting inflammation in turn can lead to muscle damage, weakness, and other issues. 

The most common forms of inflammatory muscle disease are polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Both trigger muscle weakness, but dermatomyositis also brings skin rashes. 

What are the symptoms of inflammatory muscle disease?

Inflammatory muscle disease can cause symptoms related to muscle dysfunction, including:

  • Significant muscle weakness, mainly in shoulders, neck, and hips
  • Difficulty with routine tasks, e.g., rising from a sitting position
  • Rashes, usually on the eyelids, knuckles, knees, or elbows
  • Fatigue after physical activity
  • Coordination issues, leading to stumbling or falls
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Coughing
  • Choking as you eat
  • Accidental food inhalation into your lungs

Children with inflammatory muscle disease may have hard deposits of calcium under the skin or may experience vasculitis (blood vessel inflammation) that causes open sores on their skin.

In most cases, inflammatory muscle diseases don't cause muscle pain, but they can have a significant impact on your overall function. 

How is inflammatory muscle disease diagnosed?

Your provider at Arthritis Northwest PLLC asks you to describe your symptoms in detail and performs a physical exam. A muscle test can determine whether you have a significant loss of muscle strength.

You’re likely to have a blood test to look for specific enzymes and antibodies that can indicate inflammatory muscle disease. An electromyogram (EMG) is another important test. It measures the electrical activity in your muscles. 

You may also need a muscle biopsy, a test to check a tiny sample of your muscle tissue for abnormalities including cancerous cells, or specialized imaging tests like MRI. 

How is inflammatory muscle disease treated?

There are a few treatments for inflammatory muscle disease, but the first-line approach typically is a high dose of oral corticosteroids. You taper your usage as your muscle strength returns. 

High-dose corticosteroids can lead to bone loss (osteoporosis), so you may need another medication to protect your bones. Most people with inflammatory muscle disease also take medications called disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to maintain remission. 

If you have severe inflammatory muscle disease that doesn't improve with initial treatment, you could need in-office medication infusions. Infusions take place while you’re seated in a comfortable chair with a view, and you're medically monitored throughout. 

Physical therapy and naturopathic medicine can both help you stay healthy and active during and after your treatment.

If you have muscle weakness and need answers, call Arthritis Northwest PLLC to book a consultation now. Or, visit us online.