They are all believed to be “autoimmune disorders,” where the body launches an attack against its own tissue. These chronic, progressive conditions lead to tissue damage. They can be serious conditions that require care from your doctor. The sooner these disorders are treated, the better the outcome. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor right away.
Although the cause or causes are not known, a viral infection may trigger the onset of dermatomyositis by causing the body’s immune system to identify infected skin and muscle tissue as a threat.
Your chance of developing this condition is higher if you have another connective tissue disorder.
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to dermatomyositis. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you have any one of the following symptoms, see your doctor.
Especially of the hips and thighs (making it difficult to climb stairs or stand)
May also occur in arms or neck
Aching pain in legs, shoulder, arm, or neck
Violet-colored, bumpy, or scaly skin rash (especially around the eyes, upper back, elbows, or knuckles)
Itching, especially the scalp
Photosensitivity (skin burning or itching upon exposure to sunlight)
Aching and color changes (red, white, and blue) in fingers, especially in cold temperatures
Shortness of breath
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical exam. You are likely to be referred to a rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in musculoskeletal disorders).
Tests may include the following:
Electromyogram (EMG)—This is to test the electrical responsiveness of your muscles. This test involves putting tiny needles into affected muscles and stimulating them with tiny electrical currents.
biopsy—This is a surgical removal of a small piece of muscle to examine it under a microscope.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a