Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory disease characterized by skin rashes, chronic muscle inflammation and weakness. The only reason to include this uncommon condition is that it can sometimes early on be confused with eczema of the eyelids or facial dermatitis.
The rash typically occurs as patches of dark red or purple discolorations on the skin, and commonly appears on the face, eyelids, knees, elbows, knuckles, chest, back and around the nails. Rashes are the usually the first symptom of the disease. Progressive muscle weakness accompanies the rash symptoms. Muscles closest to the trunk of the body are typically affected, such as the ones in the shoulders, thighs, upper arms and neck. The muscle weakness occurs in a symmetrical manner, meaning the left and right sides of the body are affected equally. Individuals (especially children) can often develop hardened deposits of calcium under the skin. This condition commonly occurs in children or in adults over the age of 60, and typically affects more women than men. Over time, this condition tends to worsen, but in some cases, periods of remission may occur. With proper treatment, the symptoms of dermatomyositis may be improved.