Patient Education


Dermatomyositis (DM)

  • Dermatomyositis is an autoimmune disease
  • This is a chronic (long-term) disease affecting the muscles leading to weakness.
  • Sometimes DM can cause swallowing problems. It is of serious concern as it can choke a person or aspirated into lungs.
  • Along with muscle weakness it causes rashes over the fingers and around the eyelid
  • Myositis is very rare and can affect both children and middle age adult.


  • It is an autoimmune disease where the immune system of the body causes harm to its own healthy muscles.
  • Dermatomyositis is a idiopathic inflammatory myositis (IIM)(Ideopathic-cause is unknown,Inflammatory-immune system attacks the healthy cells,Myositis-inflammation of muscle)
  • The cause of this disease is not completely studied and understood.
  • Sometime DM is associated with underline malignancy

  • DM can affect anyone, but generally, it affects two age groups, the children aged 10-15 and adults aged 45-60.
  • Mysoisits is very rare .
  • There are about 2 times more chances for women to get DM than men.

  • People suffering from myositis observe is fatigue.
  • Muscle weakness comes on gradually over time.
    o Difficulty in getting up from bed or chair
    o Difficulty in raising the hand above the head-combing the hair
    o Difficulty in getting up from squatting posture
  • When myositis is more severe, it causes swallowing related problems such as it can choke a person or breathe unwanted things into their lungs (aspiration).
  • In rare cases it can affect heart also.
  • Sometimes joint pain and swelling occur leading to arthritis
  • People with dermatomyositis sometime develop ILD (Interstitial Lung disease) leading to frequent dry cough and breathlessness (Lung inflammation)
  • People suffering from the disease can lose weight because of a loss of appetite
  • Dermatomyositis patients develop rash over the face, forehead, knuckles and back
  • Some individuals with myositis may suffer swelling around the eyes.
  • Some people can develop the fingers and toes to turn pale and discolor after an exposure to cold (raynaud’s phenomenon)

  • The doctor takes a thorough history and complete physical examination.
  • Sometimes various tests needed rule out other possible conditions.
  • This disease is best managed by a expert rheumatologist or a neurologist

  • Blood Tests
    o Liver function test
    o CPK and LDH
    o ANA titer (Hep2) and ANA profile
    o Complete blood count
  • Electromyography (EMG) Test-Looking for muscle inflammation
  • Muscle Biopsy (Tissue Sample)

  • Common Tests to Screen for Cancer-As myositis can be associated with underlying cancer so myositis patients should be screened for cancer
    Common test-
    Mammogram and PAP smear for woman
    CA 125 for woman
    PSA blood test for men
    Sometimes CT scan chest and abdomen
  • Dermatomyositis has no effect on fertility
  • Patients suffering from DM might be treated with a number of medications that can affect pregnancies including NSAIDs, anti-TNF biologics, and occasionally DMARDs.