What is myopathy?

Myopathy refers to any disease that affects muscle tissue. Diseases of the muscle result in weakness, inflammation, tetany (spasms), or paralysis. Myopathy can be the result of either inherited or acquired causes.

Muscle Problems Spotlight

Acute "acquired" myopathies, such as acute stiffness, spasm, or cramp, are common. Others are linked to exposure to an infectious agent, such as viruses or bacteria, or are inherited. However, certain cases of myopathy have no known associated risk factors.

Myopathy develops as the result of either inherited (congenital or genetic) disorders or acquired conditions of the muscles. Most commonly, people develop acquired myopathy from muscle fatigue, electrolyte imbalance, or dehydration, resulting in stiffness or cramping. Other causes of myopathy include immune disorders that cause inflammation and pain. Numerous inherited myopathies exist and may be associated with progressive weakness, atrophy (wasting), inflammation, muscle fiber metabolism dysfunction, muscle spasm, or rigidity.

The signs and symptoms of myopathy will vary depending on the type of disorder and its cause. The disease course for myopathy will also vary among individuals. Myopathy from acute causes, such as dehydration, resolves quickly, whereas those resulting from inherited causes typically last indefinitely. Myopathy symptoms may be mild such as a temporary cramp or very serious, including wasting and paralysis. Treatment options for myopathy include splinting, bracing, medications, physical therapy, and surgery.

In rare cases, myopathy may be a sign of a serious neuromuscular disorder. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, including difficulty lifting the front part of your foot and toes, weakness in your legs, feet or ankles, hand weakness or clumsiness, slurring of speech or trouble swallowing, or muscle cramps and twitching in your arms, shoulders and tongue.

Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for myopathy but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.


What are the symptoms of myopathy?

Myopathy causes dysfunction of the muscles due to inflammation or disease and can cause a number of symptoms. The symptoms can vary in intensity among individuals.

Common symptoms of myopathy

You may experience myopathy symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times, any of these muscle symptoms can be severe:


What causes myopathy?

Myopathy refers to any disease that affects the muscle tissue. Diseases of the muscle result in weakness, inflammation, tetany (spasms), or paralysis. Myopathy can be the result of either inherited or acquired causes.

Inherited causes of myopathy

Myopathy may be due to genetic conditions. Examples of some genetic conditions that result in myopathy include:

<... Read more about myopathycauses


How is myopathy treated?

Treatment for myopathy begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine whether you have myopathy, your health care provider will ask you questions and ask you to undergo diagnostic testing. It is important to follow your treatment plan for myopathy precisely and to take all of the medications as instructed.

Treatment options for myopathy will depend o... Read more about myopathytreatments

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 7, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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