Patient discussion about dermatomyositis

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Q. Does my son have dermatomyositis?

My son is 6 years old and he is very weak. He gets very tired after doing the simplest things like going for a walk. He also has a rash on his neck. What could this be?
A1It doesn't sound like you have anything to worry about. The main warning sign of dermatomyositis is muscle weakness. Usually the first muscles affected are in the hips and thighs, though any other muscle in the body can be affected. It may be hard to climb stairs, get dressed or get out of bed.
Pain in the joints between bones.
Deep red (almost purple) rash, usually on the face, scalp, neck and chest. However, the rash can appear on any part of the body.
Coughing and shortness of breath.
· It may also be hard to swallow.
If you have dermatomyositis you will have muscle weakness and will develop a rash, most often on your face, scalp, neck and chest. The rash can also appear on your hands and fingers (often the knuckles), elbows, knees, ankles, upper arms and thighs. The rash is often deep red in colour (almost purple) and in some areas may be slightly raised. If your son's rash doesn't look like this then it could be caused by many other things, consult your Dr about it.
A2Dermatomyositis is a muscle disease, which is characterized by chronic muscle inflammation accompanied by muscle weakness. Its' main symptom is a skin rash that precedes or accompanies progressive muscle weakness. The rash looks patchy, with bluish-purple or red discolorations, and characteristically develops on the eyelids and on muscles used to extend or straighten joints, including knuckles, elbows, heels, and toes. Red rashes may also occur on the face, neck, shoulders, upper chest, back, and other locations, and there may be swelling in the affected areas. If you are worried, take your son to see the Doctor. If your doctor thinks your son has polymyositis or dermatomyositis, he may refer you to a rheumatologist which is a doctor who diagnoses and treats problems to do with muscles, joints and bones.
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