The exact cause of JDM is unknown but it is believed to be a problem with the immune system. These problems may cause inflammation of muscle cells and blood vessels that can lead to damage.
JDM is more common in girls, children living in North American, and children of African American descent. Children with a family history of type 1 diabetes and systemic lupus erythematous are also at an increased risk.
The first JDM symptoms include:
As JDM progresses, symptoms may include:
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The doctor will ask about symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done, paying special attention to the skin and muscles. The appearance of a rash may help with diagnosis.
Your child’s blood and urine will be tested to look for changes in certain enzymes and indicators of inflammation.
Inflammation of the muscle may also be confirmed through:
Electromyography is an electrical test that can find nerve or muscle damage.
There is no cure for JDM, although some children may enter a period where symptoms lessen or disappear. Treatment will focus on managing your child’s symptoms. Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Options include:
Mediations will be given to help manage symptoms. These may include:
Intravenous immunoglobin (IVIG) may be given to slow down the inflammatory process.
Physical activity is an important part of treatment once inflammation is under control. Physical therapy will help your child:
Speech therapy can help teach how to cope with swallowing difficulties. A dietitian may also be advised to help with safe food selection and meal planning to promote good nutrition.
Skin protection is needed to control the rash and skin ulcers. This may include:
There is no method to prevent JDM, since the exact cause of JDM is unknown.
American College of Rheumatology
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Canadian Rheumatology Association
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Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM). Cincinnati Children’s Hospital website. Available at: https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/j/jdms. Updated March 2016. Accessed January 23, 2017.
Juvenile dermatomyositis in children. Boston Children’s Hospital website. http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/j/juvenile-dermatomyositis/overview. Published 2011. Accessed January 23, 2017.
Last reviewed January 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD Last Updated: 9/20/2017