Muscle diseases occur in all age groups and can cause serious physical disability. Muscle disorders cause weakness in limbs. Some muscle disorders may be associated with pain. Inherited muscle disorders may not be curable, but with physiotherapy and assistive care, quality of life can be significantly improved. Acquired muscle disorders are usually treatable and prognosis depends on the underlying cause of muscle disease.
Types of Muscle Diseases
There are many different forms of muscle diseases, with different causes and outcome, and requiring different treatments. They can be divided into two major categories.
These are related to a gene disorder. The genetic muscle diseases include a wide range of diseases, the best known of which are the muscular dystrophies. Other genetic muscle diseases include congenital myopathies, storage myopathies, mitochondrial diseases and periodic paralyses.
The muscle diseases which are not genetic (i.e. acquired) are also diverse. The most important among these are the inflammatory muscle diseases in which the body’s own immune system inappropriately injures its muscles. Other causes are metabolic such as seen in thyroid disorders.