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Vascular, Lymphatic and Systemic Conditions

Picture of Dermatomyositis

Picture of Dermatomyositis

Dermatomyositis is a condition that involves inflammation of the muscles, blood vessels, and skin. Affected areas have a red or purple rash, most often on the chest, face, neck, upper back, shoulders, ankles, and knees. The skin may resemble the look of a sunburn. It may be rough, dry, and scaly. The condition may lead to calcium deposits developing under the skin, forming nodules. Inflammation damages muscle tissue and may result in pain, weakness, and atrophy.

The exact underlying cause of dermatomyositis is unknown. Genetic factors and a tendency toward autoimmunity are believed to play a role. Dermatomyositis may occur in childhood or adulthood, but the most common age of onset is between the ages of 5 and 14. Females are more affected than males by this condition. The progression of dermatomyositis is gradual, although treatment may slow or stop the process. Partial or full recovery from the condition is possible.

Medications to treat dermatomyositis include corticosteroids and antirheumatic drugs to combat inflammation and suppress the immune response. Those diagnosed with the condition should follow up regularly with their doctors and care team. Symptoms should be monitored and treatment adjusted throughout the course of the illness.

Image Source: Color Atlas & Synopsis of Pediatric Dermatology Kay Shou-Mei Kane, Jen Bissonette Ryder, Richard Allen Johnson, Howard P. Baden, Alexander Stratigos Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.

Text Reference: Muscular Dystrophy Association: "Dermatomyositis"