What is dermatomyositis? Dermatomyositis is a rare disease of the muscles. It causes extreme inflammation and weakness of the muscles and can cause a rash. Women are more likely to be affected than men, but can occur in both. In adults, between the ages of 40 and 60 and children ages five to 15, dermatomyositis is more commonly developed.
The signs and symptoms of dermatomyositis can go into a remission period. And it can take weeks to months for the disease to fully develop. There is not a cure for the disease, but treatment is available to help relieve some of the symptoms of dermatomyositis.
Dermatomyositis: Signs and Symptoms
When trying to look for signs and symptoms of dermatomyositis, a different approach is needed for children. Check your child’s skin for rashes. You may want to research what these rashes look like and what part of the body they appear on. Rashes caused by dermatomyositis are often confused with allergies and eczema. See if the child has problem climbing stairs, dressing or playing differently than other children. The muscles involved in juvenile dermatomyositis are the muscles closet to the trunk of the body. These muscles include the neck, upper arms, and stomach. Other symptoms that are not as common include a hoarse voice and stomach aches. Although these symptoms are not as common, they do occur in juvenile dermatomyositis.
In adults, the signs and symptoms for dermatomyositis can be detached much easier than a child. A rash that is bluish, purple in color (heliotrope rash) will appear in areas such as the neck, upper chest, shoulders, elbows, knees, knuckles, and back. Hardened bumps of calcium deposits can develop under the skin.
Muscles weakness is the most common symptom of dermatomyositis. Muscle weakness can lead to several symptoms that include muscle atrophy, dysphagia, and difficulty doing every day activities such as climbing stairs and reaching overhead. Other signs and symptoms of dermatomyositis include sore throat, joint pain, fatigue, weight loss, low-grade fever, nausea, and Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Treatment of Dermatomyositis
The most common treatment for dermatomyositis is a steroid drug called prednisone. Sometimes prednisone is not effective and other drugs called immunosuppressants are prescribed. These immunosuppressants include azathioprine and methotrexate. Intravenous immunoglobin was recently discovered as safe and effective in the treatment of dermatomyocitis.
Physical therapy is also recommended as a method of treatment. This helps prevents permanent muscle shortening and help improve the range of motion in weaken arms and legs. Getting plenty of rest and taking frequent breaks during activity is needed when managing dermatomyositis. Also, reducing stress is important. Patients that have this disease often become stressed because of aggravation of the disease. Finding outlets such as yoga and meditation is recommended.
Mayo Clinic: Dermatomyositis - www.mayoclinic.com/health/dermatomyositis/DS00335
Virtual Medical Centre: Dermatomyositis - www.virtualcancercentre.com/diseases.asp?did=506
E Medicine from WebMD: Dermatomyositis: Treatment and Medication - www.emedicine.medscape.com/article/332783-treatment