Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory disease that’s uncommon and is marked by weakness in the muscles and a skin rash that’s very distinctive. It affects children and adults alike. In adults, it normally occurs in the late 40’s to early 60’s. In children this disease often appears in kids aged 5 to 15 years. It is known to affect females more than males.
Dermatomyositis unfortunately has no cure. The good news is that there are treatments that can help in clearing the skin rash and help the patient regain their muscle functions and strength. There are also remissions periods where symptoms tend to improve spontaneously.
Common symptoms and signs of dermatomyositis include skin changes and muscle weakness. A rash that is either dusky-red or violet colored develops commonly on the face, eyelids and areas around the back, chest, knees, elbows, knuckles and nails.
This rash might be patchy and it could bring along discolorations that are bluish-purple in color. It is usually the first sign to look out for. Progressive weakness is common in the muscles especially those of the neck, upper arms, shoulders, thighs and hips. It affects both the right and left sides of the body and worsens gradually.
Its exact cause remains unknown but this disease shares several characteristics with various autoimmune disorders where the immune system is attacked mistakenly by the body tissues. Smaller blood vessels found in muscular tissues are the most affected.
These blood vessels are surrounded by inflammatory cells and this eventually leads to muscle fibers degenerating. Possible complications that could arise include difficulties in swallowing, aspiration pneumonia, breathing problems and calcium deposits.
Dermatomyositis causes several other conditions such as cancer, lung disease, cardiovascular disease, connective tissue diseases and Raynaud’s phenomenon. A patient is at a higher risk of developing these conditions.
There are other types / forms of Myositis:
- Juvenile forms of myositis.
- Inclusion- body myositis