Which are the Most Common Myositis Symptoms?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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Myositis symptoms vary from person and person and are dependent on the type of myositis; type include polymyositis, dermatomyositis, juvenile dermatomyositis, and inclusion body myositis. There are a few general myositis symptoms that can be associated with all forms of the disease, such as muscle weakness, skin changes, and muscle fatigue. There are some myositis symptoms that are specific. For example, people affected by polymyositis have weakness in the large muscles near the trunk of the person’s body, while people with inclusion body myositis have muscle weakness in outer limbs, such as the calves and forearms.

The symptoms of polymyositis include muscle fatigue, muscle weakness, and arthritis, particularly in the muscles that are near the trunk, such as the hips, shoulders, and thighs. The muscles typically become so weak that it is hard to lift objects, brush one’s hair, or even get dressed. Sometimes, a person experiences weakness in the muscles of the neck, making it hard to lift one’s head from a position of rest. Other symptoms include weakness in the muscles of the throat and difficulty breathing. Some people have fever, joint pain, and sensitivity to cold as well.


Dermatomyositis is another form of myositis that has many of the same symptoms as polymyositis, such as muscle fatigue, but it also presents with skin conditions. The myositis symptoms for this type of the disease often include a red or purple rash on the neck, shoulders, chest, forehead, and face, along with raised bumps on the ankles, knees, elbows, and knuckles. There may also be purple discoloration on the eyelids and damage to the cuticles of the nails.

If dermatomyositis affects children, it is called juvenile dermatomyositis. The child will typically have symptoms, such as blood vessel inflammation and calcium deposits. There may also be skin lesions and muscle weakness.

Older adults are typically affected by inclusion body myositis. The inclusion body myositis symptoms include difficulty swallowing and extreme muscle weakness. The muscles often waste away, and the tendons are usually diminished. Typically, any muscle weakness occurs in the calves and forearms.

Although myositis symptoms can be quite severe, they also can be treated. The sooner it can be diagnosed, the quicker the symptoms can be alleviated. Unfortunately, it can be considered difficult to diagnose, forcing the affected individual to partake in tests and laboratory analysis over a period of months, or even years. Most people respond well to treatment once the condition is discovered.


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