Your Treatment Team

Your Treatment Team Your Treatment Team

Types of doctors

Not all cases of dermatomyositis (DM) and polymyositis (PM) are exactly alike. Different people have different experiences. And symptoms can vary from one person to another. That’s why it’s important to work closely with your treatment team right from the start.

Most likely, the first doctor you’ll meet with is your own family doctor. But depending on your symptoms, he or she may then refer you to one or more of the following specialists:

Specialist for dermatomyositis only:

  •  Dermatologist: A specialist who treats the skin, hair, nails, and the lining inside the mouth, nose, and eyelids

Specialists for dermatomyositis and polymyositis:

 

Rheumatologist:

A doctor who is an expert in diseases that affect the joints, muscles, and bones.

 

Neurologist:

A doctor who is specially trained to diagnose and treat conditions of the nervous system.

 

Pulmonologist:

A doctor trained in lung disorders. Lung problems are known to occur in people with these conditions. Problems include dry cough and difficulty breathing.

 

Physical therapist (PT):

A physical therapist works with you to improve your muscle strength and range of motion through a tailored exercise plan.

 

Psychologist:

The symptoms of dermatomyositis and polymyositis can leave you feeling down, uneasy, and even depressed. If you are feeling sad and angry, your doctor may refer you to a psychologist. He or she will work with you to manage these emotions.

 

Cardiologist:

An expert in treating heart disease. Though not always common, people with dermatomyositis and polymyositis can be at greater risk for heart problems. If an issue does arise, you would be referred to a cardiologist.

 

Nutritionist:

Diet may also play a factor in polymyositis. A nutritionist can work with you to create a diet plan that includes only foods that are good for you. Also, if you have trouble swallowing, he or she will teach you which foods won’t strain your throat muscles.

 

Speech therapist:

If you have problems swallowing, a speech therapist may be able to help. He or she will teach you special exercises. These exercises will strengthen muscles used for speaking, chewing, and eating.

Doctor Discussion Guide

By having more productive conversations with your healthcare team, you give yourself the best chance for treatment success.

Follow these steps:

  •   Download and print the appropriate Doctor Discussion Guide
  •   Complete it before your next appointment
  •   Take it to discuss with your doctor

Download the Doctor Discussion Guide for dermatomyositis (DM)

Download the Doctor Discussion Guide for polymyositis (PM)

More from DM/PM & YOU.com

Getting diagnosed

Learn about the tests to confirm if you have DM or PM.

Treating dermatomyositis and polymyositis.

Learn about your treatment options.

Stephanie

Living with polymyositis since 2009

“If you’re newly diagnosed… take control of your medical care and be your own advocate.”