A series of rare and potentially fatal autoimmune illnesses known as juvenile myositis (JM), which includes juvenile polymyositis (JPM) and juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM), occur when the body’s immune system assaults its own cells and tissues. Dysfunction of the muscles that move your body is known as myositis. Symptoms include paralysis of the muscles near the body’s trunk, inflammation, edema, muscle discomfort, weariness, irritation of the skin, cramping in the abdomen, fever, and contractures. It mainly affects children between the ages of 2 and 15 years.
Muscle weakness and a rash on the skin are the defining signs of juvenile myositis. Infection or inflammation in the circulatory system vessels beneath the layer of skin and in muscle tissue is what causes skin eruption and weak muscles. Patients with JM may experience generalized muscle weakness at the exact same time they notice a skin rash or the impairment may not become apparent for an extended amount of time. In the case of JDM, this inflammation also results in skin rashes and weak muscles. The digestive system, heart, and lungs are just a few of the body systems that may be impacted if arteries or cells of muscles in different regions of the body become inflamed. A youngster with juvenile myositis has significant difficulties standing up from a seated position and even ascending stairs. Running and walking become extremely difficult and draining. Some kids find it so difficult to sit up and lift their heads that they actually tumble out of bed. Some children with JM also feel muscle soreness in addition to weakness.
Many factors, both environmental and genetic, are thought to contribute to the autoimmune response that results in juvenile myositis. A family history of other autoimmune disorders, such as thyroid dysfunction, type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or Crohn’s disease, is frequently present in children who acquire this condition. According to specialists, a virus or bacteria may produce an excessive immune response in a youngster who is genetically prone to juvenile myositis, which may lead the body to fight itself.
- Eyelids or joints covered in a reddish-purple rash
- General fatigue
- Anxiety or depression
- Complaints of stomach pain
- Difficulty getting out of a seated position, climbing steps or into a bus, or difficulty dressing
- Reaching up to shampoo or comb your hair is difficult.
- Having trouble lifting your head Swelling or redness around your fingernails
- Gradual muscle weakness, most frequently affecting the body’s closest muscles, such as the neck, stomach, upper arms, and legs
- Calcinosis, which is the term for calcium lumps or sheets under the skin,
- Dysphagia, a problem swallowing
- A voice that sounds hoarse.
Falling, a weaker voice (dysphonia), or difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) are examples of further symptoms. The majority of kids with Juvenile myositis have muscle pain. Additionally, some kids are susceptible to calcinosis, a condition where calcium deposits harden under the skin and form lumps or sheets. Contractures, in which the muscle shortens and keeps the joint bent, can also happen. Exercises that increase the range of motion in the joints and muscles can prevent contractures. We urge you to consult your doctor to start the juvenile myositis diagnosis procedure if your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms. Juvenile myositis is a rare condition, thus not all medical professionals are familiar with the symptoms.
First, a doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination while keeping an eye out for rashes and muscle weakness. Blood testing is the next stage in making a diagnosis if Juvenile myositis is suspected. Creatine kinase (CK or CPK), aldolase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) are among the muscle enzymes that are tested. Enzymes are seeping into the circulation from inflamed or injured muscles if these lab tests are raised. In order to determine whether the child’s body is creating antibodies against its own cells, antinuclear antibodies (ANA) are also examined. Additionally, several myositis-specific autoantibodies have been found; these can also be tested for. There are occasionally additional blood tests available to look for immunological activation and/or blood vessel damage. An MRI is frequently the next step in the diagnosis of juvenile myositis since it can spot muscle degeneration and inflammation. To confirm the diagnosis, a muscle biopsy may be carried out if the MRI reveals signs of damaged muscles. A muscle biopsy must be done to rule out other potential causes of muscular weakness when the typical rashes are absent. To find out if and how much the disease has impacted the muscles and blood vessels, a small portion of the muscle is taken and examined under a microscope.
Although there is no known treatment for juvenile myositis, the prognosis has continued to get better thanks to advances in early diagnosis and aggressive therapy. Some kids have a milder form of the illness, which sometimes goes into remission. Others take a more drastic and possibly crippling path that can result in a lifetime of struggle. Loss of range of motion will occur in some JM patients. Some people will struggle with a variety of severe problems that can leave them unable to walk, in constant agony, disfigured, or even dead. For all of these kids and their families, JM alters their lives, regardless of how serious the condition progresses. Additional medications can be helpful in controlling disease activity and progression when standard therapy is ineffective for achieving remission. Rituxan and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) are two examples of intravenous proteins. Immunoglobulin, or IVIg, are antibodies found in the blood of healthy donors that attach to and eliminate disease-causing proteins (antibodies) created by your child’s body. Rituxan is a synthetic antibody that temporarily stops your child’s body from creating disease-causing antibodies.
- Avoid fast food and processed foods, especially those that contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial chemicals, preservatives, and pesticides. Instead, choose a wide range of unprocessed foods and fresh produce in vibrant colors.
- Reduce your intake of items prepared with sugar and wheat flour, notably bread, pasta, and the majority of packaged snacks. Instead, choose whole-grain items like brown rice and bulgur wheat.
- Eat fewer animal fat and items prepared with palm kernel oil to reduce your intake of saturated fat.
- Use canola, sunflower, and safflower oil that has been expeller-pressed and extra-virgin olive oil.
- Include nuts, particularly walnuts, cashews, and almonds, as well as nut butter produced from these nuts.