Dermatomyositis is a chronic condition that leads to the inflammation and weakness of the muscles. While the cause of dermatomyositis is still unknown, it may be the result of an autoimmune disease or viral infection. The condition mostly occurs among women in their forties or fifties. However, it can occur in individuals of any age. It is estimated that there are approximately 1 in 100,000 newly affected patients annually.
Dermatomyositis can be diagnosed based on its symptoms and via a combination of blood tests, muscle biopsies, and electromyography. Although there is no cure for dermatomyositis, treatment and management of the disease help improve the symptoms. Treatment for dermatomyositis can include medications (such as a combination of corticosteroids with methotrexate or azathioprine), exercise, physical therapy, orthotics, heat therapy, assistive devices, and rest. Intravenous immunoglobulin may also improve the outcome of the disease. Most patients will improve with treatment, and in some cases, the condition may resolve completely.
Symptom #1: Skin Rash
A rash is a change in the appearance, color, or texture of the skin. In dermatomyositis, the rash takes on a “heliotrope” form, where it has a lilac or purplish appearance. Rashes can be localized or found all over the body. Depending on the underlying condition, some rashes can be itchy or painful, or they may blister and swell. Rashes also may have a bumpy texture or show signs of inflammation, such as redness and warmth.
Some common causes of a skin rash are allergies, contact with an irritant, poor hygiene, autoimmune disorders, and scarlet fever. A rash also can be a side effect of medications or a reaction to vaccinations, Since there are many possible causes of a rash, the treatment for a skin rash can vary widely and will depend on the underlying cause.