What is it?

This is chronic muscle inflammation. All voluntary muscles (striated muscles) are infiltrated with cells of the immune system. The heart muscle may also be involved. Dermatomyositis also causes skin lesions.

Causes and risk factors

There are more cases among female representatives. It occurs at a young adulthood, with dermatomyositis there is also a children's form. Quite often, dermatomyositis in adults is associated with the presence of neoplasms.

The cause of the inflammation is unknown.

Which are the symptoms?

Symptoms are severe muscle weakness, especially of the arms and thighs, sometimes accompanied by pain, sometimes even fever and joint damage with arthralgia and arthritis. Less commonly, heart problems are manifested by rhythm disturbances and rarely heart failure. Damage to the lung leads to organ fibrosis. Tests usually show changes in muscle enzymes (CK, aldolase).

In the case of dermatomyositis, the skin is also involved with:

  • lesions mainly represented by purplish erythema on the face, especially around the eyes;
  • erythematous lesions infiltrating the extensor surface of the elbows, knees, metacarpophalangeal and proximal interphalangeal joints.

How is it diagnosed?

The diagnosis is based on electromyography and muscle biopsy which show alterations related to muscle suffering. The histological examination shows inflammation of the muscle tissue, with lymphocyte infiltrate, degeneration and necrosis of the myofibrils. The characteristic autoantibodies (anti-Jo1) can help in the diagnosis, when present.

Suggested exams

How is it treated?

With the help of cortisone, often in combination with immunosuppressants (azathioprine, methotrexate). Dermatomyositis skin lesions are sometimes treatable with synthetic antimalarial agents (hydroxychloroquine).

Where do we treat it?

Within the San Donato Group, you can find Polymyositis specialists at these departments:

Are you interested in receiving the treatment?

Contact us and we will take care of you.