Dermatomyositis is a very rare inflammatory disease which ischaracterized by the muscle weakness and allergic skin reactions such as forexample skin rash. This disease is more common in women than in men, andusually happens in adults after they turn 40. If it occurs in children thenthe years between 5 and 15 are the risk years for this disease.
Dermatomyositis has many warning signs and symptoms. The mostfrequent symptom is the skin rash which is violet or dusky red and whichusually appears on the face, back, chest, nails, elbows, and knees. Other symptoms of this disease include muscle weakness, dysphagia, fatigue, fever, as well asweight loss and problems with lungs and gastrointestinal tract.
Complications of dermatomyositis
Dermatomyositis must be treated on time, because it can causesome serious complications, such as muscle weakness complications, skin symptomcomplications and some associated conditions. Muscle weakness complications include problematic swallowing, aspiration pneumonia, problems with breathing, and gastrointestinalproblems.
Dysphagia or difficult swallowing occurs when the muscles inthe esophagus are affected by dermatomyositis, thus leading to the loss of theweight and malnutrition. In some cases, this condition can even cause the entranceof saliva, food, or liquid in the lungs, which has as a consequenceaspiration pneumonia. Shortness of breath may occur in the cases when the musclesof the chest are affected by dermatomyositis. Of gastrointestinal problems, the gastrointestinal ulcerationand bleeding are very common. Some complications include infections of therespiratory and digestive tract and calcium deposits in the muscles skin andcalcinosis or connective tissue.
Untreated dermatomyositis can cause some other complicationssuch as Raynaud’s phenomenon, cardiovascular and lung disease, as well ascancer and some connective tissue diseases. Raynaud’s phenomenon is the medical term for the diseasewhen the fingers, toes, nose, cheeks and ears become pale on low temperatures. Myocarditis or heart muscle inflammation may also occur as the result of the untreateddermatomyositis. Two othercardiovascular problems can also appear such as heart arrhythmias andcongestive heart failure.
Interstitial lung disease may also happen along withdermatomyositis. Interstitial lung disease leads to the scarring of the lung tissues.The lungs thus become rigid and the person has the dry cough and problems withbreathing. One of the most serious complications that dermatomyositiscan induce is cancer, which usually occurs three years after the diagnosis is set. The cancer of cervix, lungs, breasts,ovaries and gastrointestinal tract can develop. Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’ssyndrome are some of the complications that can accompany dermatomyositis.