Myositis refers to a family of diseases that involve severe, chronic inflammation caused by an adverse reaction of the body's immune system. The persistent inflammation eventually leads to damage of muscle and skin tissue. It is rare and its basic cause is yet unknown.

Myositis can affect any part of the body, but most commonly affects muscle tissue around the hips and shoulders. Individuals with the disease may first notice difficulty rising from a chair or using their arms around or above their head. It can also present itself in spot locations such as a single arm or leg, or in muscles involving eye movement.

Signs and symptoms include weakness, swelling and muscle pain. In a few cases a patient may experience an uncomfortable sense of warmth. Myositis may also lead to inflammation in organ systems such as the heart, lungs and skin.

This disease can affect people of any age or gender, although more women and of an older age are affected than men. Children usually display symptoms between the ages of 5 and 15, while adults display between 30 and 60.

Common Treatments:

Physicians have several treatment options for patients with myositis. Because the disease may present in several ways, treatment plans vary greatly between patients.

Physicians will usually employ medications like glucocorticoids and immunosuppressants. These help diminish inflammation and help control the body's autoimmune response.

They may also recommend extended rest, an exercise regimen or some form of physical therapy. Again, the degree and range of these options depends on the exact kind and severity of myositis a patient may have, as well as the presence of other medical conditions.

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