A rare inflammatory disease, dermatomyositis is a condition characterized not only by a distinctive skin rash but also muscle weakness. Just about anyone can get this autoimmune disease, although experts say that adults between 40 and 60 and youngsters between 5 and 15 are more susceptible to having it. Also, females are more at risk than males.
The cause of dermatomyositis is unknown, although experts are certain that is brought about by the fact that the immune system attacks healthy tissues of the body, thinking that they are some form of disease or infection, or they are actually foreign substances. In dermatomyositis, it is the small blood vessels that are particularly affected. Their inflammation ultimately leads to the degeneration of muscle fibers.
Complications of dermatomyositis are primarily caused by the weakening of the muscles. Some of them include difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia), aspiration of food, beverages and saliva into the lungs which may lead to pneumonia, and breathing problems such as shortness of breath. It’s not unlikely for calcium to get deposited in the muscles and connective tissues as the autoimmune disorder progresses.
There is no existing treatment for dermatomyositis to date. However, there are therapies and drugs that help alleviate the symptoms, but not entirely get rid of the disease. The problem with drugs recommended for dermatomyositis such as corticosteroids yield unfavorable side effects such as high blood sugar levels, cataracts, and thinning of the bones, most especially with long-term administration of the drug.
Fortunately for someone suffering from dermatomyositis, there are also a handful of lifestyle changes and treatments that are said to be very good at dealing with the symptoms broght about by dermatomyositis. Here are the best ones:
Perform Stretching Exercises
A way to counter muscle weakness, one of the symptoms of dermatomyositis, is by performing stretching exercises. This helps in keeping the muscles toned, flexible and strong. Signing up a physical therapist can be a great help for someone who is battling dermatomyositis and is experiencing muscle weakness.
Have Plenty of Rest
Aside from getting sufficient exercise, it’s also very important for anyone with dermatomyositis to get ample of rest. This will help divert much of his or her energy to the repair of the affected muscles and skin. Getting good quality sleep at night is also crucial because it’s during bedtime that the body focuses on repairing itself.
Take Warm Baths
Having warm baths is highly recommended for a person afflicted with dermatomyositis. This very simple remedy helps provide relief from painful and/or itchy skin rash that the condition is known to bring. Taking warm baths is also an ideal solution during times when the affected muscles feel achy.
Keep Yourself Cool
It is a good idea to stay under the shade because getting unnecessary exposure to sunlight may trigger or aggravate the dermatological symptoms of the autoimmune disease. Keeping the room cool with the help of electric fans and air conditioners is certainly a must. Opting for loose-fitting and light-colored clothes out of natural fibers can help a lot too.
Include Oily Fish in the Diet
The consumption of oily fish such as trout, cod, mackerel, sardines and tuna is beneficial for anyone with dermatomyositis. All of them are packed with omega-3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties that help ease the symptoms of the disease. Fish is also an excellent source of protein necessary for muscle building and repair.
Opt for Some Herbs
There are certain herbs known to help in easing the various symptoms of dermatomyositis. For instance, yarrow and sarsaparilla are very good at detoxifying the blood and reducing inflammation. Yucca is very good for dealing with muscle pain and stiffness. It’s also something effective against the dermatological symptom of the disease.