Dermatomyositis

Dermatomyositis is a type of skin rash marked by muscle weakness. Unlike normal skin rashes this disorder will create muscular weakness as the infection progresses. It affects both adults and children but is more prevalent in females than males. With continuous treatment, the problem can be cured and you can regain the lost muscle strength.

Symptoms :

Prominent signs of dermatomyositis are change in skin color and muscular weakness. The color of the skin may change to pinkish red or violet. The rash may develop on any area of the body but often it is found on the eyelids, around nails, elbows, back, knees and chest. Sometimes it may develop on the face causing ugly appearance to the person. This type of skin rash is marked with bluish purple patches on the affected areas of the skin.

The muscles surrounding the skin may become weak gradually and may lose its function. The thigh muscles, hip muscles, and muscles on the shoulder and upper arms are largely affected. If left untreated, it may cause difficulty in moving the muscles.

Some other symptoms of dermatomyositis are dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), fever, and fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss and deposits of calcium on the skin. Some people may develop ulcers and lung problems if the disorder worsens over time.

Causes :

There is no concrete cause for this disorder. But there is one theory relating this disease to autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune cells will attack and destroy healthy tissues and cells. People who have polymyositis will have some causative factors that will trigger the immune system to fight against body’s own cells and tissues. These are called auto-antibodies and people with dermatomyositis would have marked level of such auto-antibodies in their blood.

Diagnoses :

This disorder can be easily detected by your doctor on seeing the inflammatory muscle and change in skin color. If required, he may do Magnetic Resonance Imaging test and electromyography for studying the intensity of muscle damage. For some people, muscle biopsy is done on the laboratory for analyzing the intensity of damage.

Pictures of Dermatomyositis :

Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Dermatomyositis

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Treatment :

As such there is no treatment for dermatomyositis, but any medicines can only alleviate the symptoms. Your doctor is the right person to suggest the right method of treatment after examining the health condition and intensity of illness.

Corticosteroids are prescribed for reducing inflammatory muscle which will provide relief from pain. These drugs are effective in reducing the production of auto-antibodies by the immune system thus improving muscular strength. He may also give creams that contain corticosteroids for controlling skin rash. He would start with high dosage of these drugs and taper it gradually as the symptoms begin to improve.

However you would have to continue taking medicines until the signs totally disappear. In case, you are asked to take these drugs for 3-5 weeks then your doctor may give supplementary medicines in the form of vitamin D to reduce the side effects of corticosteroids.

For some people corticosteroid sparing medicines are prescribed for managing dermatomyositis. Drugs like azathiprine, methotrexate and rheumatrex are prescribed. He would also give prednisone along with the above medicines for controlling the disease.

You would also be given a shot of intravenous immunoglobulin to produce healthy antibodies by your immune system. This product will destroy the cells that trigger auto-antibodies and produce large number of healthy antibodies to fight the disease. Immunosuppressive medication like Tacrolimus is also prescribed orally if the muscular weakness is getting worse.

Biological therapies are given in the form of rituximab for treating polymyositis and tumor necrosis factor inhibitors like enbrel and remicade are also recommended. These medicines are expensive and still an experimental process for treating dermatomyositis.

In addition, for managing difficulty in swallowing speech therapy and physiotherapy will be beneficial to restore the lost muscular function.

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