Getting Diagnosed

Getting Diagnosed Getting Diagnosed

Diagnosing dermatomyositis and polymyositis

A full physical exam is the first step toward diagnosing dermatomyositis (DM) or polymyositis (PM). Your doctor will ask you questions about your:

  •  Signs and symptoms
  •  Family health history
  •  Full health history
  •  Medication and supplements you may be taking

Learn about
DM and PM.

Get the facts about how dermatomyositis and polymyositis can affect your muscles and impact your body.

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Then, he or she will most likely use one or more of the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:

Tests for dermatomyositis and polymyositis

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

An MRI creates detailed images of muscle tissue. It is used to help your doctor detect if disease is present

Electromyography (EMG)

A test to measure muscle strength with an electric impulse. Depending on your symptoms, one or more muscles may be tested to help diagnose your condition

Muscle biopsy

A tiny piece of muscle is removed and sent to a lab. It is checked for damage or infection. The presence of abnormal proteins and low levels of certain enzymes will also be checked

Blood test

Creatine phosphokinase (CPK) is a type of enzyme found in your skeletal muscles. When these muscles are damaged, they can cause CPK to enter your bloodstream. A simple blood test can let your doctor know if you have a high level of CPK in your blood. This can help determine if you have dermatomyositis or polymyositis. A blood test can also reveal if autoantibodies linked to DM or PM are present

Test for dermatomyositis only

  •  Skin biopsy: A tiny piece of skin is removed and sent to a lab. The sample can confirm if dermatomyositis is present. It can also rule out other possible conditions

More from DM/PM & YOU

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knowledge

Physical therapy and exercise may help people with DM and PM manage their condition.

Correct

True—Studies have shown that people with DM or PM may benefit from an exercise routine. Depending on your condition, it may be recommended as part of your treatment plan. Talk with your doctor before starting an exercise routine. Or ask to be referred to a physical therapist.

Incorrect

True—Studies have shown that people with DM or PM may benefit from an exercise routine. Depending on your condition, it may be recommended as part of your treatment plan. Talk with your doctor before starting an exercise routine. Or ask to be referred to a physical therapist.

Meet the treatment team.

Learn about the types of healthcare providers who may be involved in your treatment.

Treating dermatomyositis and polymyositis.

Learn about your treatment options.

Protein

Protein is found in every part of our body and is needed to build and maintain bones, muscles, and skin. Protein can be found in meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

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Enzyme

Enzymes are used for all body functions. These proteins cause a chemical change. For example, enzymes break down foods we eat for digestion.

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Autoantibodies

The proteins in your immune system acting against your body’s tissues.

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