Types of Myositis

Learn more about the different types of Myositis and Myopathies

Myositis, like many autoimmune diseases,  is a complex illness that is often misunderstood.  Each patient presents differently, making the diagnostic process that much harder. Learn more about the different types of Myositis.

Myositis: The Basics

The primary focus of Myositis Support and Understanding is rare muscle diseases which are referred to as “Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies” or “Acquired Myopathies,” meaning muscle diseases which are typically not inherited and are caused by the immune system attacking muscles, connective tissue, blood vessels, lungs, and/or the skin.

Although we do provide information about other forms of Myositis, the ones we focus on are Polymyositis, Dermatomyositis, Inclusion Body Myositis, Necrotizing Autoimmune Myopathy, and Juvenile Myositis.

All forms of Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies are rare diseases.

Learn more about the Basics


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Polymyositis (PM)

Polymyositis (PM) presents with muscle weakness affecting the proximal skeletal muscles, those closest to the bodies core and used for movement. These muscles can include the neck, hips, back, and shoulders. Muscle weakness may happen over days, weeks, or months. Myositis Antibodies can aid in a diagnosis, and in some cases, in predicting disease course and potential treatment outcomes. Lung Disease and, to a lesser extent, cancer, may accompany PM.

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Dermatomyositis (DM)

Dermatomyositis (DM) has recently been found to be more prevalent in African-American women, although this is poorly understood. Like with PM, muscle weakness affects the proximal skeletal muscles and also presents with skin rashes and other skin-related markers that may make diagnosis easier. Myositis Antibodies can aid in a diagnosis, and in some cases, in predicting disease course and potential treatment outcomes. Lung Disease and Cancer can accompany DM.

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Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM)

IBM is a rare muscle-wasting condition, yet it is the most common degenerative disease of muscle in adults older than 65 years. It is characterized by a slowly progressive, asymmetric, atrophy and weakness of muscles. Patients who have the disease gradually lose the ability to walk, experience falls and injuries, lose hand function, and have swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) with risk of aspiration pneumonia.

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Juvenile Myositis (JM)

Juvenile Myositis (JM), including Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM) and Juvenile Polymyositis (JPM), are rare autoimmune conditions which cause inflammation. The inflammation for JPM primarily occurs in the muscles, while in JDM the inflammation is in the blood vessels that lie under the skin and in the muscle tissue. This inflammation causes weak muscles and – in the case of JDM – skin rashes.

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What are Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies?

The Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies (IIM) are a heterogeneous group of muscle diseases of unknown etiology characterized by inflammation of the muscles used for movement; the skeletal muscles.

Myopathy is a term used to describe muscle disease.  The inflammatory myopathies are a group of diseases that involve chronic muscle inflammation, accompanied by muscle weakness.  Another word for chronic inflammation of muscle tissue is myositis.

The three main types of adult, chronic, or persistent, idiopathic inflammatory myopathies are polymyositis, dermatomyositis, necrotizing myositis, and inclusion body myositis.

Orbital/Ocular Myositis (OM)

Orbital or Ocular Myositis (OM) is an extremely rare autoimmune disorder which affects the extraocular muscles of the eye, which are muscles that control eye movement. Orbital Myositis frequently manifests with orbital pain and diplopia (double vision). Usually OM impacts young to middle-aged adult women. Treatment is often successful but there is no cure.

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Necrotizing Autoimmune Myopathy (NAM)

Necrotizing Autoimmune Myopathy (NAM) is considered to be an extremely rare neuromuscular autoimmune disease. Symptoms similar to Polymyositis. The muscle biopsy is what really distinguishes the two. NAM can be associated with statin use but not always. Myositis Antibodies are helpful in a diagnosis for NAM. CPK levels with NAM are usually extremely high.

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