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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. Dermatomyositis is the term used to describe both muscle and skin symptoms. Juvenile dermatomyositis is the condition most often seen in children.
The exact cause is not yet known. But it may be linked to problems with the immune system that result in infections.
The symptoms often appear slowly over time. In some cases, they may happen more quickly or severely. Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis. The most common symptoms of juvenile dermatomyositis include:
The course of the illness is often divided into 4 phases:
The process starts with your child's medical history and a physical exam. Your child may also have tests, such as:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. There's no cure for the condition, but the symptoms can be managed. And the disease may go into remission. Treatments may include:
Talk with the healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medicines.
Many children will recover without any lasting problems. Some children may have mobility issues due to contractures of the joints. Other children may have chronic symptoms. These may include pain, muscle weakness, and delayed growth. There may be damage to bones, joints, lungs, and other internal organs.
Juvenile dermatomyositis can make it hard for a child to take part in school and other activities. Work with your child’s school to help teachers and caregivers understand your child’s limits. A healthy lifestyle can help improve your child’s quality of life. This includes a good diet, exercise, and rest. A support group may help your child feel less alone or different.
If your child's symptoms get worse or he or she has new symptoms, let the healthcare provider know.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare 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.