Causes of Elevated Muscle Enzymes

Updated November 21, 2016

Elevated muscle enzymes may be the result of several conditions or disorders. When disease or injury to your cells occurs, your body releases large quantities of enzymes into your bloodstream. Your doctor can assess your condition by the various levels. He can determine if you have tissue damage, and whether it is healing or continuing to deteriorate by comparing subsequent tests.


Because elevated muscle enzymes can be indicative of damage or physical strain, they may be caused by trauma from an injury, accident, surgery or even electric shock. These are temporary conditions and as the muscles heal, the enzyme levels will also decrease. Treatments can include immobilisation of the injured muscles, physiotherapy, heat therapy, muscle relaxers and pain relievers.

Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is a progressive disease that results in muscle deterioration. Symptoms include lack of coordination, muscle weakness and eventual crippling. Most forms of muscular dystrophy are a result of a genetic deficiency of dystrophin, an essential muscle protein. Treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, antispasmodics, physiotherapy, assistive devices and in some cases surgery to release tendons for pain relief.


Polymositis is a disease that causes muscle inflammation. It is an uncommon connective tissue condition, resulting in muscle weakness. Symptoms may include difficulty swallowing, progressive muscle weakness, fatigue and mild tenderness in joints or muscles. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is suspected to be an autoimmune disease. Treatments include corticosteroids, immunosuppressants and physiotherapy.


Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory muscle disease that results in muscle weakness and a skin rash. Symptoms include a rash on the face, elbows, knees, knuckles, back, chest and muscle weakness that progresses over time. Other symptoms may include tenderness or pain in your muscles, difficulty swallowing, gastrointestinal ulcers and infections, lung problems, fever, fatigue and weight loss. Dermatomyositis may also be an autoimmune disorder. Treatment includes corticosteroids, antimalarial medications, physiotherapy, immunosuppressants and pain relievers. In addition, calcium deposits that may develop after a long period of time, may be surgically removed.

Infectious Myositis

Infectious myositis is viral infection of the muscles from bacteria, fungi or parasites. Examples include Lyme disease, trichinosis and tapeworms in the larva stage. Symptoms can include fever, muscle pain and weakness, difficulty swallowing and respiratory problems. Treatment may include corticosteroids, antibiotics, pain relievers and in severe cases intravenous fluids.


Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that usually affects your lymph nodes, lungs, eyes and skin. However, it can occur in any area of your body. Small clumps of inflammatory cells develop and grow in different areas of your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, it may be an autoimmune disorder. Symptoms may include cough, fever, shortness of breath, discomfort, fatigue, weight loss and small bumps on your face, arms or buttocks. They may also include arthritis in your elbows, ankles, hands and wrists and watery red eyes. Treatment includes corticosteroids and immunosuppressants.

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