Skin, Hair & Nails

Get Email Updates

Skin, Hair & Nails Guide

Rosa Cabrera RN

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Dermatomyositis: Muscle Weakness and a Skin Rash

Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory muscular disease that is characterized by two specific symptoms: a violet colored rash and progressive muscle weakness. It occurs more often to women than to men and more frequently to those ages 40 to 60 or in children ages 5 to 15. There is no cure for dermatomyositis but there are treatments and activities that will help manage the symptoms.

A violet colored skin rash is the most common first sign in the development of dermatomyositis. One classic place the rash occurs is on the face, particularly around the eye area, which can be mistaken for a lupus rash or dermatitis. A scalp rash is also fairly common and hair loss may be observed.

Two other common skin eruptions are called Groton papules and calcinosis. Groton papules are reddened, roughened skin that appears over bony areas such as the knuckles or elbows. Calcinosis nodules are hard areas of deposited calcium under the skin. They occur more often in children. Early treatment of dermatomyositis is important in order to head off this complication.

Muscle weakness from dermatomyositis can occur weeks or even years after the skin rash appears. People start to notice that they have increased fatigue climbing stairs or when reaching for items overhead. Muscle tenderness may be present but that is not a typical accompanying symptom. Other symptoms may develop such as Raynaud’s disease, arthritis, weakness of the muscles used for swallowing or lung disease.

Dermatomyositis has also been linked to certain cancers particularly cervical, lung, pancreas, breast, ovarian and the GI tract. Up to 20 percent of people with dermatomyositis may spontaneously have their disease swing back and become inactive. Others find the illnesses waxes and wanes without apparent cause.

Treatment for dermatomyositis:

A physical exam by a doctor will include: blood work to test for enzymes related to muscle injury and other immune levels. A muscle biopsy may be performed to examine the muscle tissue under a microscope. A chest x-ray and EKG may be done to check for heart involvement and an MRI may help detect inflammation in the muscles.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

Improved

1549 Health

Changed

573 Lives

Saved

430 Lives
0 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

When going out in the sun, what SPF do you put on?:
View Results