Dermatomyositis PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 January 2010 12:56
Dermatomyositis is one of a group of muscle diseases known as the inflammatory myopathies, which are characterized by chronic muscle inflammation accompanied by muscle weakness. Dermatomyositis’ cardinal symptom is a skin rash that precedes or accompanies progressive muscle weakness.

The rash looks patchy, with bluish-purple or red discolorations, and characteristically develops on the eyelids and on muscles used to extend or straighten joints, including knuckles, elbows, heels, and toes. Red rashes may also occur on the face, neck, shoulders, upper chest, back, and other locations, and there may be swelling in the affected areas. The rash sometimes occurs without obvious muscle involvement.

Adults with Dermatomyositis may experience weight loss or a low-grade fever, have inflamed lungs, and be sensitive to light. Children and adults with Dermatomyositis may develop calcium deposits, which appear as hard bumps under the skin or in the muscle (called calcinosis). Calcinosis most often occurs 1-3 years after the disease begins. These deposits are seen more often in children with dermatomyositis than in adults.

In some cases of dermatomyositis, distal muscles (muscles located away from the trunk of the body, such as those in the forearms and around the ankles and wrists) may be affected as the disease progresses. Dermatomyositis may be associated with collagen-vascular or autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and Scleroderma.

There is no cure for dermatomyositis, but the symptoms can be treated.  Options include medication, physical therapy, exercise, heat therapy (including microwave and ultrasound), orthotics and assistive devices, and rest. The standard treatment for dermatomyositis is a corticosteroid drug, given either in pill form or intravenously. Immunosuppressant drugs, such as azathioprine and methotrexate, may reduce inflammation in people who do not respond well to prednisone.

Periodic treatment using intravenous immunoglobulin can also improve recovery. Other immunosuppressive agents used to treat the inflammation associated with dermatomyositis include cyclosporine A, cyclophosphamide, and tacrolimus. Physical therapy is usually recommended to prevent muscle atrophy and to regain muscle strength and range of motion. Many individuals with dermatomyositis may need a topical ointment, such as topical corticosteroids, for their skin disorder.  They should wear a high-protection sunscreen and protective clothing. Surgery may be required to remove calcium deposits that cause nerve pain and recurrent infections.

For those of you logged in, do click below for a great article on Dermatomyositis, and its current and future treatments.

References:
NINDS (2009), "Dermatomyositis Information Page", Online at http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dermatomyositis/dermatomyositis.htm, Accessed January 5th, 2010
MayoClinic (2009), "Dermatomyositis", Online at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dermatomyositis/DS00335, Accessed January 6th, 2010

 
More articles :

» Autoimmune Disease Overlap Syndromes

Because of their variable features, overlapping autoimmune connective tissue, thyroid and liver disorders can be difficult to diagnose.It’s not unusual for several years to go by before overlapping autoimmune conditions are properly diagnosed. One...

» Jefferson Researchers Identify Mechanism Behind Fibrotic Disorder

Scientists from the of Thomas Jefferson University are now several steps closer to understanding the mechanism behind a novel systemic fibrotic disorder that affects some patients with renal insufficiency who receive imaging contrast agents for...

» Stanford Medical Researchers Discover Master Regulator of Skin Development

The surface of your skin, called the , is a complex mixture of many different cell types — each with a very specific job. The production, or differentiation, of such a sophisticated tissue requires an immense amount of coordination at the cellular...

» Mouth Exercises For Scleroderma

The loss of facial mobility may restrict the ability to chew foods and perform adequate moth hygiene. Below is some advice on maintaining facial mobility through exercise.INSTRUCTIONS:Do exercises in front of a mirror. Massage (firm touch) the...

» Patients With Scleroderma May Not Exhibit Increased Corneal Thickness

in patients with systemic sclerosis may not differ significantly from those of healthy patients, contrary to prior hypothesis, a study found."Because [] is characterized by increased deposition of and other connective tissue components in the skin...

» Clinical Correlates Of Sleep Problems In Systemic Sclerosis: The Prominent Role Of Pain

Objective. Problems with sleep are common in patients with SSc and impact daily function. Little research, however, has examined factors associated with sleep disruption in SSc. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate...

Add comment

Do feel free to leave your comments, as they would add value and knowledge to the community. However, please refrain from making any disparaging, uninformed, or unrelated comments. Thanks :)

Security code
Refresh

Login



Wise Words

"Happiness can only be found if you free yourself from all other distractions"
Saul Bellow

"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what's right"
Isaac Asimov

"Before someone's tomorrow has been taken away, cherish those you love, appreciate them today"
Michelle C. Ustaszeski