Dermatomyositis is swelling and redness of muscle and skin.

  • Causes

    The exact cause of dermatomyositis is not known. It may be an autoimmune disorder. The immune system identifies and attacks viruses and harmful bacteria in your body. An autoimmune disorder means the immune system begins to attack normal healthy tissue.

    A viral infection may trigger dermatomyositis.

  • Definition

    Dermatomyositis is swelling and redness of muscle and skin.

  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a specialist for further evaluation.

    Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:

    • Blood tests

    • Muscle

    Your muscles may be tested. This can be done with
    electromyogram (EMG).

    Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

    • MRI
      or ultrasound
    • CAT scan (CT)
    Skin Biopsy
    Skin proceedure
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  • Prevention

    There are no known ways to prevent dermatomyositis.

  • Risk Factors

    Your chance of developing dermatomyositis is higher if you have a connective tissue disorder such as:

    • Lupus erythematosus
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Scleroderma

    • Diabetes mellitus in children

    Dermatomyositis is also associated with certain genes.

  • Symptoms

    Dermatomyositis may cause:

    • Skin changes such as:

      • Violet-colored, bumpy, or scaly skin rash, especially around the eyes, upper back, elbows, or knuckles
      • Itching, especially the scalp
      • Sensitivity to sunlight
      • Nail changes
      • Skin nodules

    • Muscle
      problems such as:

      • Weakness especially in hips, thighs, arms or neck
      • Aching pain in legs, shoulder, arm, or neck
      • Tender muscles
      • Difficulty swallowing and speaking
    • Aching and color changes in fingers, especially in cold temperatures
    • Joint pain
    • Shortness of breath

  • Treatment

    There is no cure for dermatomyositis. Treatment is focused on managing the symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following: