Emma in the Infusion Clinic in Frisco

Nov 17, 2020 / Rheumatology

Juvenile Dermatomyositis

What is juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM)?
  • juvenile = this condition happens in children
  • dermato = skin
  • myositis = muscle
Symptoms of JDM include muscle inflammation (myositis) that results in weakness, and skin (dermato) rash. Other symptoms may include:
  • Getting tired easily.
  • Trouble walking, playing, brushing your hair or going up and down stairs.
  • Problems eating and drinking.
There are several different steps to confirm diagnosis. Below is what you can expect if your child potentially has JDM: 

  • Your child will need blood work. This will help the doctor know what is going on inside the body.
  • Once in the lab, your child will sit in a chair and a large rubber band or strap will be wrapped around their arm (also known as a tourniquet).
  • Then the lab technician will place a needle in their arm.
  • It will be very quick, and once finished, a colorful bandage wrap will put around the arm.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
  • An MRI is also needed to take pictures so that the doctor can see inside your child's body.
  • The patient will need to go inside a big tube that is shaped like a donut.
  • The machine makes loud banging noises when taking pictures, but we offer the child the option of watching a movie or listening to music while in the MRI.
  • The most important thing is that the patient stays still during the test.
Muscle Biopsy
  • To help the doctor see what is going on inside your child's body in a different way, a muscle biopsy is done. 
  • A biopsy helps our team see a small part of the body. They will remove a small piece of tissue while your child is asleep.
  • After the biopsy, your child will wake up and have a small spot that may be sore. Our team will teach you how to take care of it and keep it clean. 
Swallow Study
  • Your doctor has decided that they need see how your child eats and drinks.
  • A feeding expert will take pictures while your child eats and drinks to see how the throat muscles work.
  • During the study, the patient will eat and drink lots of different things. The food and drinks may look different, but they will taste like they always do.
Treatment Options

  • While on steroids, you may notice changes to your child's body. Examples include:
    • Hungrier than usual. 
    • Your child may notice a funny taste in their mouth.
    • Change in their mood.
    • Their body may also change. Such as their face becoming puffy or changes to the skin.
IV (Intravenous) Start
  • This means that your child will go to a special room where a nurse will put a small straw in their arm or hand.
  • The medicine will then go through the straw directly into their body.
  • This way of giving medicines helps our team get your child healthy much faster than with other medicines.
  • If the child is coming back for another day of medicine, they may go home with the straw or IV in place. It will be wrapped in a colorful bandage wrap.
What else is can I do to stay healthy?
  • Wear sunscreen every day.
  • Take the prescribed medicines given by the doctor. 
  • Eat healthy foods.
Learn more about the Rheumatology department. 

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