What is Inclusion Body Myositis?
Inclusion Body Myositis is an inflammatory condition of the muscles that causes weakness and atrophy or a wasting away of the muscles.
Other names for this disease are:
- Inflammatory myopathy
- Sporadic inclusion body myositis
It is an inflammatory myopathy. The inflammatory myopathies are a group of diseases, with no known cause, that involve chronic muscle inflammation accompanied by muscle weakness.
The four main types of chronic, or long-term, inflammatory myopathies are:
- Inclusion body myositis
- Polymyositis – is a type of chronic inflammation of the muscles (inflammatory myopathy) related to dermatomyositis and inclusion body myositis. Its name means “inflammation of many muscles.”
- Dermatomyositis – is an inflammatory disease marked by muscle weakness and skin rash.
- Necrotizing autoimmune myopathy which is a rare form of acquired muscle disease believed to be related to an immune response. It can be associated with use of statins or associated with cancer. Contrary to patients with myositis, patients with NAM have no inflammation or have minimal inflammation on muscle biopsy.
Who is affected?
IBM develops in adulthood, in more men than women, usually after age 50. Most people need assistance with basic daily activities within 15 years, and some people will need to use a wheelchair. IBM progresses slowly over months or years.
The symptoms and rate of progression vary from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
- Progressive weakness of the legs, arms, fingers, and wrists.
- Weakness and noticeable shrinking of the quadriceps (main muscle of the thighs), causing falls
- Weakness in the forearm muscles
- Weakness of muscles below the knees, causing the foot to drop and toes to catch when walking
- Weakness of flexor muscles of the fingers used for gripping
- Some people also have weakness of the facial muscles (especially muscles controlling eye closure)
- Weakness of throat muscles, causing difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Frequent falling episodes
- Trouble climbing stairs or standing from a seated position
- Pain or discomfort as muscles weaken
There is currently no cure for IBM. The primary goal of management is to optimize muscle strength and function. Management may include:
- fall prevention
- physical therapy
- occupational therapy
- speech therapy (for dysphagia).
What is “fall prevention”?
There are “fall prevention” strategies that may become necessary as we grow older. These are basic common sense steps that we can take to help us stay upright.
Walking, water exercise or tai chi, are gentle exercises that will keep you moving, improve your balance, strength, flexibility and coordination.
Wear sensible shoes
Sensible shoes don’t have to be boring. There may come a time when we need to ditch the high-heels and start wearing flats, tennis shoes or shoes with a rubber sole.
Remove hazards in your home
- Time to declutter! Get rid of the unnecessary items that are cluttering the floor and walkways in your home.
- You want to keep all of the hallways, entrances and exits free from all hazards that may cause you to fall.
- Secure all area rugs so you will not trip on them.
- Clean up spills or messes quickly.
- Use a bathmat in your tub and shower.
Light up your home
- Keep the sidewalk and driveway lit.
- Use nightlights in the hallway to see during the night.
- Keep a light within reach on a nightstand next to the bed.
- Turn lights on before going up and down stairs.
Use assistive devices
Your doctor may encourage you to use a cane, walker or wheelchair to help you stay mobile. There are other useful devices that you can implement in your home to assist you in fall prevention, such as:
- Raised toilet seats
- Rugs and runners on bare floors
- Handrails in the stairways
- Handrails or grab bars in the shower and bath
- A shower seat
I hope you have found this information helpful in understanding Inclusion Body Myositis. I had not heard of this autoimmune disorder until recently and I’m glad I put it in my posts for June. May is the awareness month for the group of myositis diseases.
The awareness ribbon color for Inclusion Body Myositis is blue.