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Dermatomyositis is a rare medical condition that is characterized by a distinctive skin rash, muscle weakness and the inflammation of the muscles or inflammatory myopathy. This skin disorder can affect both old and young.

There is no known cause of dermatomyositis. It is also considered an autoimmune disease because of its many similarities. An autoimmune disease is a disorder where your own immune system attacks your own healthy cells. A compromised immune system can also contribute to the development of dermatomyositis. Example of a compromised immune system is when the individual has had a viral infection or cancer.

Skin disease is one of the first symptoms individuals will experience such as:

  • Skin eruptions on skin areas that are exposed to the sun
  • Extreme itching on the skin lesions, that may cause sleep disturbance
  • Erythema or reddening of the skin due to an irritation in the mid-face
  • A skin breakout in the edge of your eyes, even without periorbital edema
  • Skin breakout in the hands, especially on the knuckles
  • Hair loss or scaly scalp
  • Nailfold changes in the fingers

The disease of the muscles can start before or after the skin outbreak. It will also take weeks or years before the muscle disease starts. Symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness can happen in the center or proximal muscles in the body
  • When walking, climbing stairs, standing up from a sitting position, or reaching for things above shoulders will result in muscle fatigue
  • Developing muscle tenderness can also occur

When the disease is in full-blown, other systemic symptoms will appear and these are:

  • Dysphonia or the inability to speak clearly because of an abnormality in the mouth, throat, tongue or vocal cords
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers and infection which is more common in children
  • Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing
  • Fever, malaise, weight loss or Raynaud phenomenon

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If you think you are suffering from Dermatomyositis you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Dermatomyositis as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).