A person with dermatomyositis may have difficulty working due to their condition and its related symptoms. Those who cannot work due to dermatomyositis may qualify to receive long-term disability (LTD) benefits.
What is Dermatomyositis?
According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, dermatomyositis is a muscle disease. It is a type of inflammatory myopathy, typically characterized by inflammation and a skin rash.
Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors
Dermatomyositis’ cause is unknown. Experts believe it may result from a viral infection of the muscles or a problem with the body’s immune system. It may also occur in patients with cancer of the abdomen, lung, or other body areas. Anyone can develop dermatomyositis, but it is most common in children between the ages of 5 and 15 and adults between the ages of 40 and 60. Women typically develop the condition more often than men. Polymyositis is a similar condition, but the symptoms in that condition typically occur without a skin rash.
- Difficulty swallowing;
- Muscle weakness, stiffness, or soreness;
- Purple or violet-colored upper eyelids;
- Purple-red skin rash and
- Shortness of breath.
The muscle weakness may appear suddenly or slowly over weeks or months. An individual with the condition may have difficulty raising his or her arms overhead, difficulty rising from a sitting position, and difficulty climbing stairs. The rash may appear over the face, hands (knuckles), neck, shoulders, upper chest, and back.
Signs and Diagnostic Tests
The doctor will perform a physical exam. Tests may include:
- Blood test to check levels of creatine phosphokinase and aldolase;
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and
- Muscle biopsy.
The disease is treated with anti-inflammatory medicines such as corticosteroids and drugs that suppress the immune system.
When muscle strength improves, the patient’s doctor may tell the patient to cut back on their doses slowly. However, most individuals with the condition must take a medicine called prednisone indefinitely.
If the condition is associated with a tumor, the muscle weakness and rash may improve when the tumor is excised or removed.
Some individuals may experience a complete recovery and have their symptoms completely disappear. This is especially true with children. In adults, death may result from severe and prolonged muscle weakness, malnutrition, pneumonia, or lung failure. The major causes of death are cancer (malignancy) and lung disease.
Complications from this condition include:
- Acute renal failure;
- Cancer (malignancy);
- Inflammation of the heart;
- Joint pain; and
- Lung disease.
Dermatomyositis and Long Term Disability
Many claims are wrongfully denied or terminated, but working with a seasoned disability insurance lawyer will improve your chances of receiving the benefits you are entitled to. A wrongful claim denial or termination does not mean that your claim is over. You can supplement your claim with additional evidence during the appeal process.
The appeal process may be daunting, but an experienced disability attorney will guide you through it. Getting expert help is often the difference between being denied again and being approved to receive benefits. You do not pay an attorney’s fee unless you win, so you can hire an attorney without paying any upfront costs or worrying about unexpected bills.
The Ortiz Law Firm represents disability claimants across the United States. If you want to talk to an experienced disability lawyer about your dermatomyositis and its impact on your ability to work, call us at (888) 321-8131. We would be happy to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss further how we can help you through the long-term disability appeal process.