Understanding Dermatomyositis in light of Suhani Bhatnagar’s passing

Understanding Dermatomyositis in light of Suhani Bhatnagar’s passing

In the wake of Suhani Bhatnagar’s passing, let’s delve into the intricacies of dermatomyositis, a rare disease which remains poorly understood yet profoundly impactful

Suhani Bhatnagar, known for her portrayal of the young Babita Phogat in the blockbuster movie “Dangal,” tragically passed away at the age of 19 in Delhi on Friday. The talented actor had been battling a rare autoimmune disease known as Dermatomyositis.

Dermatomyositis is a complex autoimmune disorder characterized by the formation of autoantibodies in the blood, leading to a range of clinical manifestations affecting multiple systems in the body, including the skin, muscles, lungs, and heart. The exact cause of the disease is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and triggers such as recent viral infections.

One of the hallmark symptoms of dermatomyositis is the development of reddish skin rashes, typically appearing on the face, around the eyes, neck, knuckles, and upper back. Patients may also experience weakness in proximal muscles, particularly in the shoulders and thighs.

The multisystem nature of dermatomyositis can lead to complications such as interstitial lung disease, where the lungs become fibrosed and experience decreased lung volumes, as well as pulmonary hypertension. These pulmonary and cardiac complications contribute to a poor prognosis and increased mortality among affected individuals.

Treatment for dermatomyositis typically involves immunosuppressants and immunomodulators, which work to modulate the immune response and prevent further autoimmune activation. These medications help to manage the clinical symptoms of the disease and reduce the risk of severe organ involvement.

Early diagnosis and prompt initiation of treatment are crucial in the management of dermatomyositis to prevent the progression of the disease and mitigate the risk of serious complications, particularly those affecting the lungs and heart. Regular follow-up care is essential to monitor the patient’s condition and adjust treatment as needed.

The passing of Suhani Bhatnagar serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by individuals battling rare diseases like dermatomyositis and underscores the importance of increased awareness, research, and support for those affected by these conditions.

(Dr Revanth Chakravarthy, Consultant Rheumatologist, Apollo Hospitals, Secunderabad)

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