Endocrine Myopathies 

Updated: Jul 02, 2021
Author: Shireen R Chacko, MBBS; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, CPE, MHCM, FAAPL 

Overview

Practice Essentials

A myopathy is considered any abnormal state of striated muscle. Clinically, the patient experiences muscle weakness, pain, cramps, muscle tenderness, and spasms in various degrees.

Diseases of the endocrine system, including the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal gland, pituitary gland, and the islands of Langerhans of the pancreas, usually result in multisystem signs and symptoms. A myopathy can very often be present, but it rarely is the presenting symptom.

Major categories of endocrine myopathy include those associated with (1) adrenal dysfunction (as in adrenal insufficiency, glucocorticoid excess, and hyperaldosteronism); (2) thyroid dysfunction (as in hypothyroidism or thyrotoxicosis); (3) parathyroid dysfunction (as in hyperparathyroidism or hypoparathyroidism); (4) pituitary dysfunction (as in acromegaly or panhypopituitarism); and (5) pancreatic islands of Langerhans dysfunction (as in diabetic muscle infarction). Steroid myopathy is the most common endocrine myopathy.[1]

Pathophysiology

A myopathy is defined as an abnormality of the structure or function of skeletal muscle.[2]  Skeletal muscle has a complex structure, composed of intricately organized proteins arranged in a specific manner to allow for muscle contraction.[2]  Contraction of a muscle fiber is initiated by the action of the axon that innervates it, which is then transmitted to the inside of the muscle fiber by a structure called the transverse tubular system that results in the release of calcium from the endoplasmic reticulum.[2]  This calcium then leads to muscle contraction through a series of downstream events in an ATP-dependent process.[2]  Given this complex structure and function, the muscle fiber is susceptible to disturbances by a variety of systemic disorders, including inflammatory disorders, endocrinopathies, electrolyte imbalances, infections, drugs, toxins, and metabolic disorders.  Although endocrinopathies lead to alterations in cellular function and metabolic disturbances that can result in skeletal muscle dysfunction, the exact pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. The etiopathogenesis of specific endocrine myopathies are detailed below.

Adrenal dysfunction

Adrenal disorders associated with skeletal muscle dysfunction include primary adrenal insufficiency, glucocorticoid excess, and hyperaldosteronism. Adrenal hormone excess or deficiency secondary to pituitary disorders may also be associated with skeletal muscle dysfunction.

Primary adrenal insufficiency may be the result of autoimmune, infectious, or metastatic etiologies, with other causes including bilateral adrenal hemorrhage and specific drugs also included in the differential diagnoses. While acute adrenal crisis is associated with severe generalized weakness,[3]  muscle weakness is also a common manifestation of chronic Addison disease.[4]  Patients may also present with myalgias, lower extremity flexion contractures, and hyperkalemic periodic paralysis that improve with hormone replacement.[5, 6, 7]  The exact pathogenesis of this weakness is unclear and whether this represents a true myopathy remains to be elucidated. The postulated mechanisms include circulatory insufficiency, disturbances in carbohydrate metabolism, as well as electrolyte disturbances, namely, hyponatremia and hyperkalemia.[7]  

Glucocorticoid excess caused by Cushing’s syndrome, Cushing’s disease, ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) production, and exogenous glucocorticoid administration are all associated with muscle weakness and atrophy, with predominant proximal muscle involvement.[7]  Interestingly, other disease states associated with increased glucocorticoid production such as sepsis, acidosis, and cancer, are also associated with muscle damage.[8] ​ Glucocorticoid excess may lead to muscle weakness via inhibition of protein synthesis, increased protein catabolism and altered carbohydrate metabolism.[7, 9, 10]

Hyperaldosteronism caused by pituitary or ectopic overproduction of ACTH, adrenal tumors, or exogenous corticosteroid administration has been associated with muscle weakness that is attributed to the associated hypokalemia.[11, 12] ​ Objective myopathy is rare in hyperaldosteronism, but case reports describe objective muscle weakness, elevated creatine kinase levels, and electromyographic findings of myopathy.[11, 13]

Thyroid dysfunction

Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are associated with myopathy.

Thyroid hormone deficiency may be congenital or acquired; acquired causes include autoimmune etiologies, iodine-deficient states and post-ablative or post-surgical hypothyroidism.[2]  Central hypothyroidism from hypopituitarism may also occur.[14]  Thyroid hormone deficiency has been commonly associated with neuromuscular symptoms,[15]  probably due to impaired muscle energy metabolism and slow protein turnover that occur with thyroid hormone deficiency.[15, 16, 17]

Thyroid hormone excess, or thyrotoxicosis, may result from Graves disease, toxic multinodular goiter, toxic adenoma, thyroiditis, exogenous thyroid hormone intake and, rarely, excessive thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) secretion from the pituitary gland.[14] ​ Thyrotoxic myopathy may  be secondary to a disturbance in the function of the muscle fibers from increased mitochondrial respiration, accelerated protein degradation and lipid oxidation, as well as enhanced beta-adrenergic sensitivity due to excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.[18]

Parathyroid dysfunction and vitamin D deficiency (osteomalacia)

Hypoparathyroidism is most commonly postsurgical, but may also occur due to genetic or autoimmune etiologies.[19]  Resistance to parathyroid hormone (PTH) can occur in hypomagnesemia.[19]  Hypoparathyroidism results in hypocalcemia, which in turn leads to neuromuscular irritability[20]  that manifests as tetany, with or without carpopedal spasm.  

Primary hyperparathyroidism, or hypersecretion of PTH from the parathyroid glands — from parathyroid adenomas, and less commonly from diffuse gland hyperplasia[19]  — has specific effects on skeletal muscle. Increased intracellular calcium, and protein degradation along with reduced calcium sensitivity of troponin, lead to hyperparathyroid myopathy, including muscle weakness and pain.[7]  

Secondary hyperparathyroidism occurs as a result of hypocalcemia from vitamin D deficiency and chronic renal failure.[19]  Elevated PTH levels may lead to hyperparathyroid myopathy by similar mechanisms as in primary hyperparathyroidism. Furthermore, the associated vitamin D deficiency and uremia can result in various downstream effects, resulting in myopathic features as well.  

Osteomalacia, the abnormal mineralization of bone seen in vitamin D deficiency and hypophosphatemia, is associated with myopathy via various mechanisms, including decreased protein synthesis, impaired excitation-contraction coupling, decreased myofibrillar ATPase activity, and impaired calcium uptake ability.[7]  

Pituitary dysfunction

Pituitary disorders, both hyposecretion and hypersecretion of hormones, are associated with myopathy.

Hypopituitarism is usually due to compression of the adenohypophysis from pituitary adenomas and rarely from trauma or infection. The muscle weakness in panhypopituitarism is largely due to the consequent reduction in thyroid and adrenal hormones, although reduced growth hormone levels also play a role.[7]  

Hyperpituitarism results from excessive secretion from tumors arising from specific pituitary cells, such as ACTH and growth hormone from corticotroph and somatotroph adenomas, respectively.

ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma or Cushing’s disease may result in a proximal myopathy due to excess glucocorticoid secretion.[7, 21]

The muscle weakness in acromegaly has been postulated to occur via reduced membrane excitability and reduced muscle ATPase activity, while a concomitant increased muscle bulk may occur due to the effects of growth hormone on muscle protein metabolism.[7]  Interestingly, there are some reports that dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis plays a role in the pathogenesis of polymyalgia rheumatica.[22, 23]  

Pancreatic islets of Langerhans dysfunction

Diabetic muscle infarction (spontaneous diabetic myonecrosis) is a rare condition that can occur in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and is thought to represent one of the vascular complications of diabetes.[24, 25]  It can present as painful muscle swelling, typically of the front of the thigh, and the exact pathogenesis is unclear.[25]

Epidemiology

Patients with endocrine dysfunctions frequently complain of vague fatigue and weakness that may be ignored, leading to delayed diagnosis if this was the sole manifestation. A diagnosis of myopathy is sometimes made without histologic or electrophysiologic confirmation.  Therefore, the true prevalence of endocrine myopathy is difficult to ascertain.[26]  Corticosteroid myopathy remains the most common endocrine-related myopathy.

The prevalence of specific endocrine myopathies is as follows:

  • Exogenous glucocorticoid use: Severe muscle weakness is reported in 2.4-21% of those taking exogenous glucocorticoids for prolonged periods [27]  
  • Cushing’s syndrome: Proximal muscle weakness and wasting is reported in 60% of patients [28]  
  • Cushing’s disease: 50-80% of cases are associated with muscle weakness [29]  
  • Adrenal insufficiency: Weakness and fatigability have been reported in up to 100% of these patients, [30]  with other sources citing a prevalence of severe generalized weakness, cramps, and fatigue in 25-50% of these patients [7]
  • Hyperaldosteronism: Although weakness is a common subjective feature in this condition, objective myopathy appears to be rare [12, 11]  
  • Hypothyroidism: The prevalence of neuromuscular symptoms in these patients varies from 30% to 80% [15]
  • Thyrotoxicosis: 80% of cases of thyrotoxicosis have been reported to have muscle involvement [31]
  • Hypoparathyroidism: Frequently associated with tetany; however, weakness and elevated CK levels appear to be rare [32, 26]  
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism: Approximately 25% of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism develop muscle symptoms [33]  
  • Osteomalacia: Approximately 50% of patients with osteomalacia develop muscle symptoms [7]
  • Acromegaly: 50% of patients have been reported to display myopathic changes on EMG [7]  
  • Diabetic muscle infarction: Extremely rare and since this condition was first described about 45 years ago, fewer than 200 cases have been reported [25]  

Sex- and age-related demographics

Sex-related demographics are as follows:

  • Hyperparathyroid myopathy - Female-to-male ratio 2:1
  • Hyperthyroid myopathy - Female-to-male ratio 1:1
  • Iatrogenic steroid myopathy - Female-to-male ratio 2:1 [34]
  • Hypothyroid myopathy - Female-to-male ratio 5:1
  • Cushing myopathy - Depends on the etiology of Cushing syndrome

Age-related demographics are as follows:

  • Hyperparathyroid myopathy - Peak incidence 40-60 years
  • Hyperthyroid myopathy - Peak incidence 20-60 years
  • Hypothyroid myopathy - Incidence increases after 40 years
  • Cushing myopathy - Peak incidence 20-40 years

Prognosis

The prognosis depends on the underlying endocrine process. Hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and other endocrine states may be fatal.

Myopathy may be painful, and the pain must be addressed either in the form of symptomatic therapies or curative treatments of the endocrine diseases. Myopathy often abates with correction of underlying disease. Prolonged weakness and partial recovery are common, especially in severe cases and in patients with delayed or suboptimal treatment.

The prognoses for various endocrine myopathies are as follows:

  • Adrenal dysfunction: Although most cases of muscle weakness related to glucocorticoid excess resolve with therapy, there have been reports of persistent symptoms years after treatment. [35, 7]  
  • Thyroid dysfunction: Thyrotoxic myopathy resolves completely with treatment of the underlying endocrinopathy. However, in hypothyroid myopathy, while CK levels fall rapidly with treatment, clinical improvement tends to be slower and less reliable, with one study describing persistent subjective weakness 1 year after treatment in 21% of patients. [36]  
  • Parathyroid dysfunction: In hypoparathyroidism, while the tetany may resolve with correction of hypocalcemia, in patients who have chronic myopathy it will at least partially resolve with calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Secondary hyperparathyroidism is often difficult to treat, but completely treated primary hyperparathyroidism leads to resolution of the associated myopathy. [37, 38, 15]  The myopathy of osteomalacia tends to improve with replacement of vitamin D. [7]  
  • Pituitary dysfunction: In acromegaly, the myopathy resolves with normalization of growth hormone levels. [7]  

Morbidity/mortality

Myopathy may result in weakness and/or pain that may significantly influence the quality of life and impair daily function. Myopathy may also result in muscle atrophy.

Mortality is related to the underlying cause of myopathy. For example, myxedema coma may have a mortality rate between 50% (if treated aggressively) and 100%.[39]

Complications

Clinicians should be aware of the following potential complications that may arise:

  • Hypothyroid myopathy may present acutely with rhabdomyolysis. [40, 41]
  • Respiratory muscle weakness has been reported to occur in various endocrine diseases. [42]
  • Diabetic muscle infarction may be complicated by acute compartment syndrome. [43]  

Patient Education

For patient education resources, see the following from WebMD:

Also visit the Thyroid & Metabolism Center at eMedicineHealth for additional patient education resources.

 

 

Presentation

History

When approaching a patient with a suspected myopathy, the age of onset, rapidity of progression, distribution of muscle involvement, and whether the symptoms are intermittent, stable, or progressive can help guide the diagnosis.[2]  In endocrine myopathies, multiple organ systems are usually involved and myopathy is only one part of the history, although exceptions do occur where myopathy may be the presenting feature. For systemic manifestations of endocrine diseases, please refer to respective Medscape Reference articles for more details. This article will focus on muscular manifestations of endocrine diseases. Endocrine myopathies may have an acute or chronic presentation, depending on the etiology, and they are typically characterized by proximal more than distal muscle weakness, with or without associated muscle pain, cramps, and/or spasms. The weakness is typically symmetric or rapidly becomes symmetric. Muscle atrophy may or may not be present.

Adrenal dysfunction

Hypoadrenalism

Acute adrenal crisis is associated with severe generalized weakness.[3]  Addison disease may be associated with chronic weakness, myalgias, and lower extremity flexion contractures.[5, 6, 7]  Some cases are also associated with hyperkalemic periodic paralysis that presents with intermittent muscle weakness.[7]

Hyperadrenalism

Cushing’s syndrome may present with the usual cushingoid features plus myalgias and proximal muscle weakness.[44] Corticosteroid-induced myopathy is the most common endocrine-related muscle disease and may be acute, as in the intensive care unit setting, or may be a more chronic process.[45]  While hyperaldosteronism may be associated with subjective muscle weakness, objective weakness is rare.[13, 12, 11]  

Thyroid dysfunction

The muscular manifestations of hypothyroidism are myriad and are summarized below:

  • Kocher-Debre-Semelaigne syndrome is a condition characterized by hypothyroidism in childhood with muscular pseudohypertrophy and proximal muscle weakness. [46]
  • Hypothyroid myopathy in adults may present with muscle weakness, cramps, muscle stiffness, and myalgias. These may be the main or only presenting symptoms of hypothyroidism. [47] Rodolico et al described 10 patients with primary autoimmune hypothyroidism presenting solely with myopathy. [48]
  • Hypothyroid myopathy may present acutely with rhabdomyolysis. [40, 41]
  • Hoffman syndrome is a rare syndrome of hypothyroid myopathy, described as hypothyroidism associated with muscle weakness and pseudohypertrophy in adults. [49]

General symptoms of thyrotoxicosis include weight loss, sweating, tremor, muscle wasting, and painless weakness. Occasionally, patients have myalgia, cramps, and bulbar and ocular muscle weakness. Ocular symptoms (diplopia, reduced blinking, lid lag) and skin disease may be present, especially in the case of Graves disease.

Onset of symptoms may be gradual in mild hyperthyroidism and more rapid in severe hyperthyroidism.[7]  

Thyrotoxic periodic paralysis is a condition characterized by transient attacks of proximal muscle weakness lasting minutes to days, with sparing of bulbar and respiratory muscles.[7]

Parathyroid dysfunction

Hypoparathyroidism results in hypocalcemia manifesting as perioral and distal parasthesias and numbness, tetany, carpopedal spasm, and muscle cramps. Muscle weakness, if present, is usually mild.

In primary hyperparathyroidism, muscle wasting, proximal muscle weakness, and painful muscle stiffness are common.[7]  Patients may also have muscle cramps and paresthesias.[50]  Although there is usually sparing of bulbar and sphincter muscles, there have been reports of respiratory muscle weakness.[51, 52]

Patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism have similar muscle symptoms to those with primary hyperparathyroidism but usually have a concomitant neuropathy.[7]

Patients with osteomalacia typically have proximal muscle weakness, pain, and wasting.[7]  

Pituitary dysfunction

In patients with hypopituitarism, the myopathy often results from secondary adrenal and thyroid dysfunction. Patients have severe muscle weakness with relatively preserved muscle mass.[7]

As with hypopituitarism, secondary adrenal effects may be responsible for the myopathy in hyperpituitarism. In acromegaly, patients typically have gradually progressive muscle weakness, often with increased muscle mass.

Pancreatic islets of Langerhans dysfunction

Diabetic muscle infarction is a rare condition that tends to occur in patients with poorly controlled diabetes and typically presents acutely with muscle swelling and pain, most commonly affecting the lower extremities.[25]  

Physical Examination

Physical examination should focus on the entire body, as the endocrine diseases usually present with multiple system findings. An endocrine tumor is in the differential diagnosis, and signs of a hormone-secreting tumor may be seen on examination.

A detailed neurologic examination is required, including a complete assessment of power, tone, muscle bulk, and deep tendon reflexes. Early recognition of bulbar muscle weakness and respiratory muscle weakness is essential, as these can lead to life-threatening complications.

In general, there is predominant proximal rather than distal muscle involvement. Muscle atrophy may or may not be present. Muscle stretch reflexes are usually present (may be depressed) even in weak muscles.

The following patterns may be observed in specific endocrine myopathies.

Adrenal dysfunction

Hypoadrenalism

Hypoadrenalism may be associated with subjective muscle weakness, myalgias, and lower extremity flexion contractures.[5, 6, 7]

Hyperadrenalism

Glucocorticoid excess is typically associated with proximal muscle weakness and atrophy, with the lower extremities more affected than the upper extremities.[7]  Striated muscles of sphincters and those innervated by cranial nerves are spared.[7]  Although hyperaldosteronism may be associated with subjective muscle weakness, objective weakness is rare.[11, 13, 12]  

Thyroid dysfunction

Thyroid disorders may result in orbital myositis, a disorder that may impair ocular movement and therefore may clinically appear as eye muscle weakness.[53]

Hypothyroidism

Patients typically have symmetric proximal muscle weakness with reduced velocity of motor movements and delayed relaxation of deep tendon reflexes. Median neuropathy at the wrist commonly accompanies this diagnosis. Myxedema is a classic, yet often forgotten sign of hypothyroid myopathy characterized by a typical localized mounding of muscle tissue induced by a light pressure or tactile stimulus, elicited by flicking the bulk of the biceps muscle with the thumb and index finger.[54]

Hyperthyroidism

In addition to the findings of Graves disease, muscle weakness with atrophy of proximal muscles may be present. Distal muscle involvement has also been described.[26]  In rare cases, bulbar and respiratory muscles may be involved and it is important to exclude this involvement on examination. Deep tendon reflexes are typically normal, or in some cases, are brisk.[7, 26]  

Parathyroid dysfunction

Hypoparathyroidism

Tetany is a common finding. If the tetany is latent, it may be elicited on examination by hyperventilation or by specific maneuvers, including the Chvostek sign, where twitching of the facial muscles is caused by tapping the facial nerve, and the Trousseau sign, where carpopedal spasm is provoked by inflating a blood pressure cuff to block venous return.[7]  

Hyperparathyroidism

Hyperparathyroid myopathy typically manifests with symmetric proximal muscle weakness and wasting with brisk deep tendon reflexes.[7] Respiratory muscle weakness may be present.[51, 52]

Osteomalacia

Patients may have proximal muscle weakness and wasting.[7]  

Pituitary dysfunction

Hypopituitarism

Multiple endocrinopathies may result from pituitary dysfunction. The myopathy from pituitary disease may be a result of secondary adrenal or thyroid dysfunction or other endocrine disturbance. Patients have severe muscle weakness with relatively preserved muscle mass. A pituitary tumor may have focal mass effects.

Hyperpituitarism

Multiple endocrinopathies may result from pituitary dysfunction. Patients with acromegaly may have muscle weakness with increased muscle mass. Concomitant neuropathy, particularly of the median nerve is often present.[7]  Mass lesions may have local effects.

Pancreatic islets of Langerhans dysfunction

Diabetic muscle infarction

Typically presents acutely with muscle swelling and pain, most commonly affecting the lower extremities. Tenderness of the affected muscle group may be appreciated on examination.[25]  A few patients may have a mild fever.[24, 55]  Rarely, there may be associated erythema, warmth and induration.[55]  

Caveats

Physicians must be especially alert in the following scenarios:

  • Physicians must be alert to the possibility of an endocrine etiology in cases of pure muscle weakness—even in the absence of systemic findings—as endocrine diseases may be associated with significant morbidity or mortality.
  • Respiratory muscle weakness has been reported to occur in various endocrine diseases. [42]
  • Physicians must also be alert to the possibility of malignancy as the underlying etiology for any endocrinopathy.
 

DDx

 

Workup

Laboratory Studies

Because the diagnosis is made by elucidating the underlying endocrine abnormality, laboratory studies are considered in relation to the most likely etiologies.

Laboratory studies measuring hormone levels may help distinguish one endocrine myopathy from another. These tests are best ordered in consultation with an endocrinologist.

Creatine kinase (CK) levels may be normal or increased in various endocrine disorders, as follows:

  • Hypothyroidism: CK is usually elevated. Interestingly, the degree of elevation of CK does not have a clinical correlation with the severity of myopathic symptoms, [56]  with mild CK elevations even seen in asymptomatic patients. [57]
  • Hyperthyroidism: CK is usually normal.
  • Glucocorticoid excess: CK is usually normal [7]  and, in fact, may be low in some cases. [58]
  • Adrenal insufficiency: CK is usually normal. [7]  
  • Hyperaldosteronism: There are case reports of elevated CK levels in hyperaldosteronism-associated myopathy. [13]
  • Hypoparathyroidism: CK may be normal or, rarely, elevated. [7]  
  • Hyperparathyroidism, primary and secondary: CK is usually normal. [7]
  • Oseomalacia: CK is usually normal. [7]
  • Acromegaly: Slight CK elevation may be present. [7]  

Imaging Studies and Other Tests

Imaging studies

Imaging studies neither confirm nor exclude the presence of muscle disease. They may be of benefit in the diagnosis of endocrine disorders.

Other tests

Electromyography (EMG) may reveal the presence of a myopathy, but a normal examination does not rule out the diagnosis. Although commonly performed with nerve conduction study testing, needle EMG is direct invasive testing of muscle and therefore differs from nerve conduction study testing. Myopathy is a disorder of muscle, and the nerve conduction study portion of the electrophysiological examination should be normal; however, the endocrinopathies often also cause neuropathies or may be associated with other conditions (such as diabetes) in which neuropathies are common. This heterogeneity explains the great variability and lack of consensus regarding the electrophysiological findings in endocrine diseases.

Needle EMG examination preferentially studies the type I units, as these units fire selectively during weak muscle contraction. Thus, a disease process selectively involving type II units, such as steroid myopathy, may reveal no abnormalities on EMG.

EMG findings consistent with a myopathic process include the following:

  • Polyphasic motor unit potentials
  • Shortened duration of motor unit potentials
  • Decreased amplitude of motor unit potentials
  • Adrenal dysfunction: In cases of adrenomyeloneuropathy, a distinct and different disorder not otherwise considered in this article, nerve conduction velocity may be normal or decreased.
  • Hypothyroidism: EMG helps differentiate delayed muscle relaxation from myotonia.
  • Hyperthyroidism: EMG abnormalities may be found more proximally and are of the typical myopathic type. Motor conduction studies typically are normal, although some can show distal leg denervation.
  • Hyperparathyroidism: The usual finding is myopathic motor unit potentials and increased frequency of polyphasic potentials without spontaneous activity. However, patients with severe proximal weakness and bulbar involvement may have fasciculations and a reduced recruitment pattern with normal nerve conduction velocities. [7]
  • Acromegaly: 50% of patients have been reported to display myopathic changes on EMG. [7]  

Histologic Findings

Muscle biopsy is considered mainly to exclude other treatable or congenital muscle diseases, including myotonic dystrophy or congenital myopathies.[59, 60] Histologic changes associated with endocrine myopathies are variable and rarely specific. There is a striated muscle protein that may prove to be a disease progression marker.[61]

Histologic findings are as follows:

  • Steroid myopathy: The characteristic finding is type II (fast-twitch) muscle fiber atrophy. Other changes that have been described include vacuolization and aggregation of mitochondria. [7, 62]
  • Thyrotoxic myopathy: Normal histology versus nonspecific findings.
  • Hypothyroidism-associated myopathy: Nonspecific type II muscle fiber atrophy, type 1 fiber hypertrophy, occasionally with glycogen accumulation.
  • Thyrotoxic periodic paralysis: Vacuolar dilation of the sarcoplasmic reticulum
  • Hyperparathyroid myopathy: Type II fiber atrophy without degeneration. [7]  
  • Osteomalacia: Non-specific, usually minimal findings. [7]  
  • Acromegaly: Isolated muscle fiber necrosis, increased glycogen and satellite cell hypertrophy may be seen. [7]   
 

Treatment

Medical and Surgical Care

Medical care

Treatment of endocrine myopathies involves correction of the underlying endocrine dysfunction, either surgically or medically. Care should be taken to avoid neurapraxic lesions. Beta-adrenergic–blocking agents may improve the strength of the muscles, especially respiratory muscles.

Surgical care

When the underlying cause of endocrine myopathies is found to be related to a hormone-secreting tumor or a tumor of the endocrine glands, it usually needs to be surgically removed.

Consultations

Endocrinology consultation is recommended.

Neurology consultation may be appropriate if neurological findings such as specific muscle weakness require elucidation; neurologists may also perform EMG examination to determine the presence of myopathic findings.

Physical medicine consultation may be helpful if the patient has suffered weakness and has not recovered fully.

 

Medication

Medication Summary

No specific medications are recommended for endocrine myopathies. Refer to the relevant Medscape Reference articles for the appropriate medical management of each endocrinopathy.