Dermatomyositis is a rather rare inflammatory disorder typified by weakness of the muscles and a characteristic skin rash. It afflicts children as well as adults. In adults, Dermatomyositis usually occurs from the 40s – 60s. In children, it manifests between 5 – 15 years. Females are afflicted more than males.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any cure for dermatomyositis, however, there are periods of remission, when the symptoms get better.
Causes And Symptoms Of Dermatomyositis
The precise cause for dermatomyositis is not known, however, the condition has many characteristics in common with autoimmune disease-conditions, in which your immune mechanism erroneously attacks your own body tissues.
Dermatomyositis manifests as:
- A red – violet rash develops, most frequently, on the face, eyelids, knuckles, around the nails, elbows, chest, knees and back.
- Progressive weakness of the muscles closest to the trunk – thighs, hips, shoulders, arms and neck is seen. The weakness tends to worsen gradually.
Alternative Therapies For Dermatomyositis
There is no cure for dermatomyositis, on the other hand treatment improves the skin as well as muscle functioning and strength. Confer with your doctor and see what is the most suitable treatment regimen for you; he will tailor your strategy based up on your symptoms and how you respond to therapy.
The area that has rash is more sensitive to the sun. Hence make sure that you wear protective clothing as well as apply sunscreen when you go outside.
- Drugs such as prednisone are usually prescribed by doctors; they are fairly effective in controlling the dermatomyositis symptoms. However, a long drawn out use of these drugs have serious side effects, thus, ensure that you gradually taper the dosage.
- Have foods that are loaded with vitamins A, C, and E. These are ‘skin vitamins’ and will help keep your skin looking healthy and will stave off the rash. Consume plenty of limes, lemons, bell peppers, spinach, mangoes, papayas and oranges. Also, talk to your physician and if required start supplements for these vitamins to expedite cure.
- Rituximab which is commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis is an option in case preliminary therapies fail to control your symptoms.
- Physical therapy is definitely effective in dealing with muscular weakness. A physical therapist will show you exercises to help maintain and improve the strength, mobility and flexibility of the muscles and will also advise an appropriate level of activity for you. Schedule regular physiotherapy sessions for successful management.
- Speech therapy may be advocated if your swallowing muscles have been affected by dermatomyositis, speech therapy will help you learn how to compensate for those changes.
- Later, as the condition progresses, chewing and swallowing become somewhat difficult. A registered dietician can teach you how to prepare easy-to-eat foods. A complete dietary evaluation and following the nutritionist’s advice will benefit you a great deal.
- IVIg is a purified blood product which comprises of healthy antibodies from blood donors. These healthy antibodies obstruct the destructive antibodies which attack muscle and skin in dermatomyositis. It is introduced as an infusion through a vein, and is rather expensive and requires to be constantly repeated for the beneficial effects to continue.
- Surgical intervention is also an option to get rid of the painful calcium deposits and to prevent recurrent skin infections. Discuss with your health care provider to understand whether surgery is advisable for you.