Dermatomyositis Treatment in Mountain Brook, AL
Dermatomyositis is a rare type of inflammatory disease affecting muscle tissue, for which the precise cause is unknown, involving inflammation and a skin rash. Affecting both adults and children, dermatomyositis is most common in adults in their late 40s to early 60s, and in children between the ages of 5 and 15. Dermatomyositis shares many characteristics to autoimmune disorders. Autoimmune disorders occur as the result of infection which compromises your immune system, and cause your body's disease-fighting antibodies to mistakenly attack healthy cells, thinking they are fending off destructive cells. Similarly, when the small blood vessels in your muscular tissue become surrounded by inflammatory cells, tissue degeneration follows and eventually can result in dermatomyositis.
Dermatomyositis, at its mildest, can be uncomfortable and unpleasant; and at its most severe, it can be fatal. Schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Mountain Brook that can assist you with dermatomyositis treatment! Call (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
Dermatomyositis Symptoms and Complications
Dermatomyositis is a connect-tissue disease, most commonly associated with the presentation of inflammation of the muscles and the skin. Though, as a systematic disorder, it may also affect the joints, the esophagus, the lungs and the heart. Common dermatomyositis symptoms include:
- Purple-red skin rash commonly found on the face, chest, back, elbows and around the nails
- Muscle weakness, stiffness or soreness, which gradually worsens
- Problems swallowing
- Purpling of the upper eyelids
- Shortness of breath
If left untreated, dermatomyositis may lead to a number of dangerous complications including:
- Acute renal failure
- Inflammation of the heart
- Joint pain
- Lung disease
Dermatomyositis is a serious condition that may be fatal if symptoms worsen and left untreated. It is important to consult a dermatomyositis specialist who can assist in diagnosing you. Your healthcare provider will begin the diagnostic process with a physical exam. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be ordered to inspect for abnormal muscles, while an EKG (electrocardiogram)) will record the electrical impulses that control your muscles. An analysis of your blood will likely be requested to check the level of muscle enzymes you have as well as autoantibodies, the antibodies that attack normal cells. A dermatomyositis diagnosis will depend on the result of two further exams:
- A muscle biopsy which inspects for inflammation and other problems relating to the disease in a sample of muscle tissue
- A skin biopsy which inspects for changes caused by the disease in a skin sample
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for dermatomyositis. However, it is important to work with your healthcare provider to improve the condition of your skin and muscle strength for overall wellness. Your dermatomyositis treatment will be dependent upon your specific symptoms, and may include:
- Corticosteroid medications: Corticosteroids such as prednisone can be taken orally or be applied to your skin and should lower the response of your immune system to reduce the amount of inflammation-induced antibodies. Additionally, corticosteroid-sparing medications such as azathioprine and methotrexate may be prescribed to limit the side effects caused by your original prescription.
- Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG): Intravenous therapy is a blood transfusion consisting of a mixture of antibodies that have been collected from thousands of healthy people who have donated their blood. This treatment aims to block the unhealthy antibodies affecting your skin and muscles.
- Physical therapy: To improve and preserve muscle strength and prevent loss of muscle tissue.
- Antimalarial medications: To treat your rash.
To protect your skin, it is important to avoid sun exposure and to apply sunscreen daily along with any other topical treatments you are prescribed. Your healthcare provider will likely recommend dietary changes such as increasing your protein intake, adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet or incorporating various vitamins to supplement the diet.
Dermatomyositis is a serious condition. If you find you are experiencing any of the aforementioned signs and symptoms of dermatomyositis, schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in Mountain Brook that can help diagnose and treat your condition! Call (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
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