Causing a distinctive purplish rash and muscle weakness in the shoulders, thighs, neck and hips, dermatomyositis is an inflammatory disease affecting older adults and sometimes children between five and 15 years of age.
Doctors aren’t sure why dermatomyositis affects certain people, but think it may be a type of autoimmune disorder involving the immune system attacking body tissues for no reason. Dermatomyositis particularly damages small blood vessels in muscles, which leads to muscle fiber degeneration and muscle weakness.
In addition to enervation, dermatomyositis causes a dusky rash to appear on the face, eyelids, knuckles, chest, back and elbows. This rash is usually the first sign that someone is suffering from dermatomyositis. Noticeable muscle weakness may begin within a few weeks of the rash spreading over the body.
No cure for dermatomyositis currently exists, but treatment is available to minimize symptoms. After evaluating your health and the progress of the disease, your dermatomyositis doctor in NYC will recommend one or more the following treatments:
Prednisone and other corticosteroids are very effective in controlling the symptoms of dermatomyositis. However, prolonged use of corticosteroids can cause serious side effects. After taking corticosteroids for a while, your doctor may reduce the amount of corticosteroids you are taking or incorporate a corticosteroid-sparing agent into your medication.
Corticosteroid-sparing agents, such as Trexall or Imuran, help decrease the risk of side effects while maintaining the therapeutic effects of corticosteroids.
Topical corticosteroids are sometimes prescribed to decrease rash appearance and discomfort.
A common treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, Rituximab may be prescribed by your dermatomyositis doctor in Staten Island if corticosteroids and corticosteroid-sparing agents do not control symptoms.
To treat persistent rashes, physicians might prescribe an antimalarial medication such as Plaquenil to reduce the appearance of a dermatomyositis rash.
For people who do not respond to prednisone, immunosuppressant medications, like methotrexate or cyclosporin, may help reduce inflammation.
To maintain the flexibility and strength of the muscles affected by dermatomyositis, part of your dermatomyositis treatment in Jersey City may include weekly sessions with a physical therapist.
To block destructive antibodies from attacking skin and muscle tissue in dermatomyositis, your doctor may recommend you receive intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) treatment. With the ability to suppress antibody activity and multiple inflammatory mediators, IVIg can help people with dermatomyositis manage their disease and enjoy a normal quality of life.
Comprised of antibodies extracted from thousands of blood donors, IVIg is also used to treat other autoimmune disorders, infections and diseases without known causes (idiopathic).
Blood tests determine whether higher levels of certain muscle enzymes exist in the body while also detecting auto-antibodies in the blood associated with dermatomyositis symptoms. This information helps your dermatomyositis doctor in Jersey City decide what kind of treatments and medications would work best to control your symptoms.
Distribution of dermatomyositis in muscles is measured using electromyography, a device analyzing electrical activity patterns in your muscles. Magnetic resonance imaging scans assess large areas of muscle inflammation, while skin biopsies help support a diagnosis of dermatomyositis by ruling out other autoimmune disorders like lupus.
If you think you may have dermatomyositis or already know you have dermatomyositis and want to speak to a knowledgeable dermatomyositis doctor in NYC about treatment, call Regional Orthopedics today to schedule a consultation appointment at one of our convenient locations in New York City, Brooklyn, Staten Island or Jersey City.