Specialists in Duke’s nationally ranked rheumatology center diagnose and manage care for myositis, a group of diseases characterized by muscle inflammation. Our experienced rheumatologists collaborate with Duke specialists to relieve the muscle weakness and fatigue associated with myositis, and help you return to an active lifestyle.
Experienced myositis care
Myositis is caused by inflammation in the muscles. It includes polymyositis, which primarily causes muscle weakness, and dermatomyositis, which involves both skin rashes and muscle weakness. Inclusion-body myositis is characterized by gradual muscle weakness throughout the body; and polymyositis, which primarily involves weakness in the muscles in the body’s middle section.
Inflammatory myositis may be linked to other autoimmune conditions, including lupus, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis, and may cause complications such as difficulty breathing or swallowing. As a result, we take a comprehensive approach to treatment that draws upon the experienced specialists throughout Duke. Our goal is to provide you the best care for your individual needs.
Choose Duke for your myositis treatment because we offer:
- A team approach to care. Because myositis can be associated with other conditions, you may work with a team of experts including rheumatologists, pulmonologists and neurologists. They work together to develop an effective treatment plan for you and help you manage your condition.
- Nationally ranked program. Our rheumatology program is ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
- A commitment to myositis research. Our doctors are engaged in research to better understand the causes of myositis and to find treatments that will deliver the best results. This ensures you receive the most effective treatments available.
While there is no cure for myositis, your doctor can offer effective disease management options. Your treatment plan will be based on the severity of your condition and its effects on your muscles and other body systems, and may include:
Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, and immunosuppressants, such as methotrexate or azathioprine, may be prescribed to control the body’s immune system and inflammatory attacks on the muscles and other healthy tissues. These drugs may also reduce inflammation, relieve pain and boost muscle strength.
Exercises that improve strength, flexibility and function aim to improve your quality of life and reduce your chances of developing a disability.
If you have muscle weakness or other symptoms that may indicate myositis, our experienced doctors will carefully review your medical history and perform a complete physical exam to make a definitive diagnosis. Your evaluation may include:
Measure elevated levels of muscle enzymes and rheumatoid factors such as antibodies and proteins.
A small metal needle inserted through the skin and into the muscles records impulses or electrical activity that pinpoint damage or weakness.
Images show signs of muscle damage.
Removes small sample of muscle tissue for viewing under a microscope to diagnose myositis.
Removes small sample of skin tissue for viewing under a microscope to help diagnose dermatomyositis.