ABC Medical Center > Dermatomyositis

What is Dermatomyositis?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It is a rare inflammatory condition that affects the muscles, weakening them, as well as causing the appearance of atypical skin rashes.

Although it can affect people of any age and sex, it is more common in children and middle-aged adults, with a higher incidence in women.

The origin of dermatomyositis remains undiscovered, but it is believed to be autoimmune, although there are also genetic aspects that can contribute to its appearance, in addition to various viruses, drugs, smoking, and excess solar radiation, among others.

There is no specific treatment being an incurable disease, but it seeks to control the symptoms, especially, eliminating the rash and regaining strength and muscle movement.

Signs and symptoms Dermatomyositis

The symptoms can manifest suddenly or progressively, depending on the case:

  • Red to purple rashes, usually on the face, chest, back, and knees.
  • Numbness, pain, and weakness in the muscles.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swallowing difficulties.

If not diagnosed and treated promptly, this condition can lead to complications such as:

  • Malnutrition caused by swallowing problems.
  • Aspiration of liquids and foods that can cause pneumonia.
  • Breathing difficulties due to pectorals’ weakening.
  • Accumulation of calcium on the muscles and skin.

Additionally, dermatomyositis can cause other conditions such as lupus, arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, scleroderma, arrhythmia, heart failure, cancer, and lung problems.

Diagnosis and treatment Dermatomyositis

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and medical history, they will perform a physical examination to look for signs of the condition. If found, you will be required:

  • Blood test.
  • Chest x-rays.
  • Electromyography to measure the electrical activity of the muscle.
  • Electrocardiogram.
  • MRI.
  • Skin and muscle biopsy.
  • Pulmonary physiology test.
  • Swallowing tests.

Being an incurable disorder, the treatment will focus on the control of symptoms, helping to minimize skin rashes and the recovery, as possible, of muscle tone and strength.

To do this, they will prescribe drugs such as corticosteroids and drugs that mainly suppress the immune system. Likewise, it will recommend that you do not expose yourself to sunlight, and if you do, you should use sunscreen.

In case of severe affectations, you can receive immunoglobulin injections or undergo surgical procedures to remove calcium deposits that are usually very painful.

Finally, if there is significant damage caused by the disease, you should go to physical and language therapy sessions, and receive nutritional advice.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • Arguelles ZAC, Infante AR, Infante AA, et al. Capacidad aeróbica, fuerza muscular, niveles séricos de fosfocreatincinasa y pruebas ergométricas en pacientes con polimiositis y/o dermatomiositis. Rev Cub de Reu. 2015;17(1):6-16.
  • López L, Martínez V, Ramos GA, et al. Dermatomiositis clásica. Presentación de dos casos clínicos. Rev Cent Dermatol Pascua. 2006;15(3):206-216.
  • Mercado U, Yocupicio FM, Mercado H. Dermatomiositis-polimiositis. Med Int Mex. 2020;36(4):502-508.

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