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Juvenile Dermatomyositis

What is juvenile dermatomyositis?

Juvenile dermatomyositis is one of the conditions in a group of conditions called the dermatomyositis/polymyositis complex. The conditions in this complex are characterized by muscle damage due to an inflammatory process of the blood vessels that lie under the skin and muscles. Skin changes around the eyelids and over the knuckles and finger joints are also seen. Juvenile dermatomyositis is the condition most often seen in children.

Juvenile dermatomyositis is rare, affecting 3,000 to 5,000 US children under the age of 18.

What causes juvenile dermatomyositis?

The cause of juvenile dermatomyositis has not yet been determined. However, factors which are thought to be associated with dermatomyositis include dysfunction of the immune system, resulting in infections.

What are the symptoms of juvenile dermatomyositis?

The symptoms of juvenile dermatomyositis often appear gradually. At times, there may be a more acute, or intense, onset of symptoms. The following are the most common symptoms of juvenile dermatomyositis. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Symptoms of juvenile dermatomyositis may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

Phases of juvenile dermatomyositis:

The course of juvenile dermatomyositis is often divided into four phases, based on symptoms and findings on examination. The four phases are briefly described below:

How is juvenile dermatomyositis diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for juvenile dermatomyositis may include:

Treatment for juvenile dermatomyositis:

Juvenile dermatomyositis cannot be cured. However, with supportive therapy and a multidisciplinary team approach to treatment, remission of the disease may be achievable in time. Treatment may include:

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