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What is dermatomyositis?

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Quick Answer

Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory condition that typically causes a distinctive rash on the skin and weakness in the muscles, according to Mayo Clinic. The rash, which is violet or dusky red in color, typically attacks the eyelids, face, elbows, knees and knuckles. It also can attack the back, chest and the region around the nails. The weakness of the muscles, on the other hand, exacerbates over time and occurs in the thighs, hips, neck, shoulders and upper arms.

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Full Answer

Dermatomyositis attacks all people irrespective of age, notes Mayo Clinic. However, females are more vulnerable to the condition than males. Dermatomyositis patients should visit a doctor when symptoms appear, so that the condition can be diagnosed and treated in time. This helps to avoid possible complications such as dysphagia, which leads to weight loss and aspiration pneumonia, and calcinosis, which is the accumulation of calcium deposits in the skin, muscles and connective tissues. Delayed treatment may also expose the patient to conditions such as Raynaud's phenomenon; myocarditis, which is the inflammation of the heart's muscular walls; and cancer in adults.

Although dermatomyositis lacks a cure, medications such as corticosteroids and antimalarial medications help alleviate its effects, states Mayo Clinic. Physical therapy, speech therapy and surgical removal of calcium deposits are also helpful. The treatment options depend on the symptoms and the effectiveness of the treatment. To increase the effectiveness of the treatment, the treatment should begin when the diseases is still in its initial stages.

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