Dermatomyositis is a muscle disease that involves muscle weakness, inflammation, and skin rash. Unlike other inflammatory diseases which primarily affect certain age groups and demographics, dermatomyositis can affect people of any age and both genders. At her Beverly Hills office, board-certified rheumatologist Dr. Susan Baker can help patients with the management and prevention of various musculoskeletal and connective tissue diseases. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Baker, please call (310) 274-7770 or fill out an online contact form.
What is Dermatomyositis?
Dermatomyositis is part of a group of muscle diseases called inflammatory myopathies. Like other inflammatory myopathies, dermatomyositis is characterized by muscle weakness and inflammation, though its main symptom is a patchy and discolored rash on the face, eyelids, and other areas of the body.
Though dermatomyositis can go through periods of remission, during which its symptoms go away and become less severe, the best way to treat the condition is by scheduling an appointment with a rheumatologist like Dr. Baker. Although the disease isn’t curable, early treatment and diagnosis can improve a patient’s muscle strength and skin. Additionally, early treatment can lead to less complications from the condition, allowing patients to life lives free from the pain and discomfort associated with dermatomyositis and other rheumatology conditions.
Signs and Symptoms of Dermatomyositis
In patients with dermatomyositis, development of a skin rash is often the initial and most common symptom of the condition. The rash is commonly red colored, developing mainly on the face and eyelids of a patient. Additional areas of the body that can be affected by skin rash include the following:
Calcium deposits are another symptom of dermatomyositis. Called calcinosis, the deposits appear as hard bumps beneath the skin, typically appearing within three years after the disease begins. Though calcinosis is more common in children with the disease than adults, it can still appear in patients of any age.
Another symptom of dermatomyositis is progressive muscle weakness, which can appear simultaneously with the skin rash. Patients suffering from muscle weakness may experience difficultly climbing stairs, walking, or rising from seated positions. Muscle weakness tends to affect both sides of the body evenly and becomes worse over time.
Other signs and symptoms of dermatomyositis include :
- Difficulty swallowing
- Weight loss
- Lung issues
If you’re suffering from any one of the aforementioned symptoms, it’s possible that you may be suffering from dermatomyositis and require treatment. Call Dr. Baker today at (310) 274-7770 to schedule a consultation at her Beverly Hills office and to determine a treatment plan for your condition.
Cause of Dermatomyositis
Though the exact cause of dermatomyositis isn’t known, the disease shares many similarities with autoimmune disorders, leading doctors to believe that the condition is partially caused by a patient’s immune system targeting his or her own body. Treatment options for dermatomyositis commonly include immunosuppressive therapies and medications.
Treatment for Dermatomyositis
As mentioned, there is no cure for dermatomyositis, but early dermatomyositis treatment can serve as an effective preventative measure against the disease. Treatment can help restore a patient’s muscle strength and reduce the severity and signs of the skin rash. At her Beverly Hills office, rheumatologist Dr. Baker uses several treatment methods when fighting dermatomyositis, providing the best therapy for each patient’s unique needs.
Corticosteroid medications suppress a patient’s immune system, reducing muscle inflammation and increasing muscle strength in the process. Depending on how a patient reacts to the medication, a rheumatologist may gradually reduce the use of corticosteroid medications over the course of a few months.
Certain immune-suppressing drugs may be used to combat inflammation.
Patients with dermatomyositis typically need ointment for their skin rash. This ointment can help patients deal with the discomfort associated with their skin rash.
During physical therapy, a physical therapist will help patients restore range of motion and strength to their affected joints. Additionally, a therapist can advise patients on exercises and appropriate levels of activity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are there any home remedies I can perform to lessen the severity of my dermatomyositis symptoms?
A: Wearing sunscreen while outdoors can help patients with dermatomyositis, as the skin rash can be quite sensitive to the sun. Additionally, maintaining an active lifestyle can help build muscle strength and prevent muscles from atrophying.
Q: Who is affected by dermatomyositis?
A: Children and adults alike can suffer from dermatomyositis. In children, the disease typically affects individuals between the ages of 5 and 15; in adults, it occurs between the late 40s and early 60s.
To learn more about dermatomyositis, visit rarediseases.info.nih.gov
Contact Beverly Hills Rheumatologist Dr. Baker Today!
If you are suffering from dermatomyositis, please contact board-certified rheumatologist Dr. Susan Baker today. At her Beverly Hills office, Dr. Baker can help patients suffering from dermatomyositis, ankylosing spondylitis, or any other inflammatory disease. Please call (310) 274-7770 to schedule a consultation.
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