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- Patients with JDM have varying symptoms. They range from mild muscle weakness like difficulty getting out of a chair or difficulty turning over in bed to severe symptoms including profound weakness or difficulty swallowing. Patients can also develop rash or skin changes ranging from mild redness to more severe ulcer formation.
- Other forms of myositis in children include polymyositis, focal myositis and other rare forms of myositis.
- Myositis almost always causes loss of muscle strength and most all patients also have a rash.
- Early diagnosis and sticking to the treatment plan are important to prevent permanent muscle weakness.
- Children experience JDM differently. While remission is often possible, a minority of children with JDM may have a more chronic course that is less responsive to therapy.
Juvenile dermatomyositis is an inflammatory disease of the muscle (myositis), skin and blood vessels that affects about 3 in 1 million children each year. The cause is unknown. The primary symptoms of JDM include muscle weakness and skin rash. All age and ethnic groups are affected. Most cases start in children ages 5 -10 and adults ages 40-50. Women are affected about twice as often as men.
Patients with juvenile dermatomyositis (JMD) develop weakness in the large muscles around the neck, shoulders and hips. This causes difficulty in climbing stairs, getting into cars, getting up from a chair or off the floor, or brushing hair. Most patients have little, if any, pain in their muscles, which distinguishes them from patients with other forms of muscle disease. Many patients with other conditions complain of weakness; however, when questioned closely, they really mean that they are tired, short of breath or depressed rather than suffering from true muscle weakness.
Source: American College of Rheumatology