Myopathies

Myopathies are group of muscle diseases. In these diseases, the central nervous system and nerves are intact. Disease primarily involves the muscles.

Symptoms:

Patient feels weakness of the muscles and sometimes has muscle pain as well. Myopathies usually effect muscles of shoulder and thighs initially but sometimes can involve other muscle groups. The patient notices difficulty in getting up from the ground or climbing stairs. Patients who have problem in muscles of the arms feel difficulty with overhead activities like lifting weight or doing hair. In rare myopathies, patients may have difficulty swallowing and difficulty in opening or closing eyes.

Causes:

Causes of muscle disease are diverse. They include hereditary conditions, autoimmune diseases, infections, inflammations, diseases of endocrine glands, electrolyte imbalances, drugs and nutritional deficiencies.

Treatment:

Treatment involves identifying underlying cause and treating it. Treatment may involve short course of steroids, disease modifying drugs, plasmapheresis and IVIG.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the role of gene therapy in myopathies?

Many trials are underway but there is no approved gene therapy treatment available at moment.

What is the prognosis of myopathies?

It depends on the underlying cause. Sometimes patient is healed for lifetime with little or no disability. In some patients, myopathy progresses and significant disability occurs.

Does exercise help myopathies?

Exercise does not affect the underlying disease process but it definitely strengthens the muscles and contributes to overall wellbeing of the patient.

How to take care of bedridden or wheelchair bound patient?

Please see section on “taking care of paralyzed patients

Is there any permanent cure of myopathy?

It will depend upon the underlying cause. Some myopathies get healed with short course of drugs while others may need treatment for longer periods of time or may be lifetime.

What is the duration of treatment for myopathies?

It depends upon the underlying cause. Sometimes myopathies resolve after treatment for few weeks or months while others may need treatment for years.

Is there any role of physiotherapy?

Yes, physiotherapy is very crucial for the patients who have hereditary myopathies and when disease is long standing. Such patients should get regular physiotherapy sessions.

Disclaimer:
The information given here is intended for use of general public . It should not be taken as standard medical reference.

About the Author:

One of the most well known neurologists in Lahore, he is serving as Assistant Professor of Neurology at Lahore General Hospital. He is a graduate of King Edward Medical College and did residency in general medicine & neurology at Mayo Hospital Lahore. He did FCPS in neurology and moved to Lahore General Hospital, and has been working there since.

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