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Dermatomyositis is a rare disease that causes muscle inflammation and skin rash. It’s one of a group of muscle diseases that cause muscle inflammation and swelling. It's different from other muscle diseases because it also causes skin problems. Dermatoyositis is the term used to describe both muscle and skin symptoms.
It can occur at any age, but it most often affects adults ages 50 to 70. Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with the disease. Some people with the disease also have a connective tissue disorder, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
The exact cause is not known, but possible causes include:
The symptoms are caused by swelling and inflammation in the blood vessels that supply your skin and muscles, and can include:
Sometimes the muscle weakness also spreads to the heart, GI tract, and lungs. This can cause breathing trouble and coughing. Adults may have a low-grade fever, along with lung inflammation and sensitivity to light.
The process starts with a person’s medical history and a physical exam. The health care provider will look for an underlying disease, such as cancer. Tests may also be done, such as:
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, your age, and your general health. There's no cure for the condition, but the symptoms can be managed. You may need more than one kind of treatment. And your treatment may need to be changed over time. Treatments include:
Talk with your health care providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medications.
Possible complications for some people with dermatomyositis include lung disease, heart disease, or cancer. These can make treatment more difficult.
If you have dermatomyositis, you may need to be treated for the rest of your life. It's important to learn as much as you can about the disease. Work closely with your health care provider. Researchers are studying causes and treatments for the condition. Early diagnosis and treatment for the disease may improve over time.
If your symptoms get worse or you notice new symptoms, notify your health care provider.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.