Dermatomyositis

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Dermatomyositis is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Dermatomyositis is a type of inflammatory myopathy characterized by inflammatory and degenerative changes of the muscles and skin. Associated symptoms and physical findings may vary widely from case to case as patients may present differently. Muscle abnormalities may begin with aches and weakness of the muscles of the trunk, upper arms, hips, and thighs (proximal muscles). Muscles may be stiff, sore, tender and, eventually, show signs of degeneration (atrophy). Affected individuals may experience difficulty in performing certain functions, such as raising their arms and/or climbing stairs or develop speech and swallowing difficulties.

Skin abnormalities associated with dermatomyositis often include a distinctive reddish-purple rash (heliotrope rash) on the upper eyelid or across the cheeks and bridge of the nose in a "butterfly" distribution and on the forehead and scalp. Other characteristic rashes include scaling and redness of the knuckles, elbows, knees, and/or other extensor regions (Gottron papules and sign); an abnormal accumulation of fluid (edema) in body tissues surrounding the eyes; and/or other features.

The symptoms of childhood (juvenile) dermatomyositis (JDM) are similar to those associated with the adult form of the disorder. However, onset is usually more sudden. In addition, abnormal accumulations of calcium deposits (calcifications) in muscle and skin tissues as well as involvement of the digestive (gastrointestinal [GI]) tract are more common in JDM.

Introduction

The inflammatory myopathies are a group of diseases that involve chronic muscle inflammation and weakness. They are thought to be autoimmune diseases, meaning the body's natural defenses (antibodies, lymphocytes, etc.) against invading organisms suddenly begin to attack perfectly healthy tissue for unknown reasons, leading to inflammation or swelling.

Supporting Organizations

American Autoimmune & Related Diseases

22100 Gratiot Ave.
Eastpointe, MI 48021
Tel: (586)776-3900
Fax: (586)776-3903
Tel: (800)598-4668
Email: aarda@aarda.org
Website: http://www.aarda.org/

Arthritis Foundation

1330 West Peachtree Street, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30309
USA
Tel: (404)872-7100
Tel: (800)283-7800
Email: arthritisfoundation@arthritis.org
Website: http://www.arthritis.org

Cure JM Foundation

826 Lynwood Drive
Encinitas, CA 92024
USA
Tel: (760)487-1079
Fax: (760)230-2243
Email: info@curejm.com
Website: http://www.curejm.org

European Society for Immunodeficiencies

1-3 rue de Chantepoulet
Geneva, CH 1211
Switzerland
Tel: 410229080484
Fax: 41229069140
Email: esid@kenes.com
Website: http://www.esid.org

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
Website: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

Muscular Dystrophy Association

3300 East Sunrise Drive
Tucson, AZ 85718-3208
USA
Tel: (520)529-2000
Fax: (520)529-5300
Tel: (800)572-1717
Email: mda@mdausa.org
Website: http://www.mda.org/

Myositis Association

1737 King Street
Suite 600
Alexandria, VA 22314
USA
Tel: (703)299-4850
Fax: (703)535-6752
Tel: (800)821-7356
Email: tma@myositis.org
Website: http://www.myositis.org

Myositis Support Group

146 Newtown Road
Woolston
Southampton, S019 9HR
United Kingdom
Tel: 2380449708
Fax: 2380396402
Email: msg@myositis.org.uk
Website: http://www.myositis.org.uk

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  12/7/2015
Copyright  2015 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.