What is myopathy: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Definition: myopathy is a disease of the skeletal muscles.

Caused by nervous disorders that usually call our attention because we develop weakness or rapid fatigue in the muscle during activities at the time we use our limbs.

There may also be delay in recovery after playing sports or simply a lower performance compared to other times. When a myopathy is acquired in late age, there is often an underlying reason, such as thyroid disease or some problem in the development of the adrenal glands.

Myopathy symptoms

The effects of myopathy are generally mild and transient.

Symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness and movement problems, which can cause patients to become dependent and in rare cases require a wheelchair.
  • Muscular dystrophy is a severe form of myopathy that can have more severe symptoms.
  • Unlike neuropathy, myopathy does not cause changes in sensitivity.

Causes

The myopathies are very diverse in the cause, since some are produced as a result of a main process in the muscle, while others are secondary to another condition.

There are also several types of myopathies. Some are inherited and caused by a genetic defect, an inflammatory response or endocrine problems

The causes of myopathy due to a primary muscular disease include:

  • Infectious myopathies caused by a bacterium or virus.
  • Myopathies induced by trauma, such as rhabdomyolysis.
  • The muscular dystrophies are progressive hereditary diseases affecting muscles.

Common causes of secondary myopathies include:

  • Thyroid disease
  • Some chemotherapeutic agents.
  • Tumors that can cause polymyositis or dermatomyositis.
  • Side effects to medications.
  • Chronic disorder of the immune system.

Risk factor’s

Some of the risk factors for myopathy include:

  • Autoimmune disorders such as scleroderma and thyroiditis.
  • Endocrine disorders such as Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism or Addison’s disease.
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Exposure to toxins such as herbicides or insecticides.
  • Infection such as HIV or Lyme disease.
  • Deficiency of vitamin D, vitamin E or toxicity.
  • Medications (especially lipid-lowering statins, some antihistamines and long-term use of corticosteroids)

Diagnosis of myopathy

The diagnosis comes from the clinical history of weakness often accompanied by pain. You can also order blood tests. It may include electromyographic and nerve conduction studies, as well as a neuromuscular radiological evaluation. We may have to perform a muscle biopsy for a more definitive evaluation.

Treatment

Rehabilitation aimed at further improving your neuromuscular function. Your treatment will adapt to your particular condition.

  • Medications for muscular dystrophy.
  • Lose weight, if it is above the ideal.
  • Corticosteroids

Complications of myopathy

Most people who develop a myopathy have transient weakness and pain improvement, through some type of treatment. For others, myopathy can progress to severe and prolonged weakness.