The vasculitis caused by JDMS manifests itself predominantly in two ways:
One is a distinctive rash. The rash often affects the face, eyelids, and hands, and sometimes the skin above joints, including the knuckles, knees, elbows, etc. The color of the rash is a pinkish purple, and is called heliotrope (after a flower of the same name with approximately this color). On the hands and face, the rash very closely resembles allergies, eczema, fifth disease, or other more common skin condition, but the heliotrope color is unique to the inflammatory process of JDMS. Some children develop calcinosis, which are calcium deposits under the skin. The rash is the source of the "dermato-" part of the name of the disease.
The second symptom caused by vasculitis is muscle inflammation. This symptom is the source of the "-myositis" part of the name of the disease ("myo" = muscle, "-itis" = inflammation of). Muscle Inflammation causes muscle weakness, which can cause fatigue, clumsiness, not keeping up physically with peers, and eventually inability to perform tasks like climbing stairs, lifting objects, and performing other manual tasks. Other signs may include falling, dysphonia, or dysphagia. The muscle weakness often causes a medical misdiagnosis of muscular dystrophy or other muscle disease. Some patients develop contractures, when the muscle shortens and causes joints to stay bent; exercise can prevent this. The muscles first affected tend to be proximal (i.e., neck, shoulders, back, and abdominal). About half of children with JDMS also have pain in their muscles.
Other symptoms may include irritability, weight loss, and mouth ulcers.
Read more about this topic: Childhood Dermatomyositis
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