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Polymyositis is a inflammation of the muscles due to a autoimmune reaction
What is dermatomyositis (DM)?
PM/DM in children This disorder is mostly more serious in children than in adults. The course of the disease is characterised by a less favourable outlook, a higher mortality rate, resistance to cortisone treatment, a generalised involvement not only of the muscles and skin, but also of other organs, and especially the gastrointestinal tract, the heart and lungs. Very typical are the intestinal perforations caused by vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) in the intestinal wall.
Very serious generalised types (type Banker and Victor) are different from the more chronic type (type Brunstig), which only causes muscle involvement. Both types often evolve into generalized muscle fibrosis (increased formation of connective tissue in the muscle) and muscle calcification, which lead to very significant limitation of motor functions and invalidity.
PM/DM in adults
There is a difference between the acute and chronic (or subacute) form. The acute form is more prevalent in young people and is characterized by a more generalized involvement of muscles, skin, the typical red-purplish discoloration of knuckles and eyelids, with possibly heart and lung damage, swallowing difficulties, vasculitis, fever, a general feeling of being ill and weight loss. This type is less frequent than the chronic (or subacute) type. An intensive and early treatment determines the outcome of the disease. If the disease is not treated, the mortality rate is 7 to 8 out of 10. An early and intensive treatment has reduced this rate to 2 out of 10. The chronic type occurs especially in women between 40 and 60
PM/DM and cancerSometimes people with dermatomyositis
have tumors that are related to their dermatomyositis. That is why screening for such tumours has to be performed in the early phase of the disease. Men mostly develop a tumor e.g. in the lungs, stomach or prostate, while women are more likely to develop breast- or ovary cancer. Other types of tumors may also occur. In this group more men than women are affected, which indicates that this type is a separate entity. In general, these types of DM are very serious and often the patient dies of his DM and not of the cancer. In most cases, removing the tumour does not improve the DM.
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