Dermatomyositis is a rare disease that causes muscle inflammation and skin rash.

It can occur at any age, but it most often affects adults over the age of 50, the exact cause is not known but is thought to be an autoimmune disorders, with genetic predisposition and environmental factors that might play a role.


symptoms are caused by swelling and inflammation in the blood vessels that supply the skin and muscle scan appear suddenly or develop gradually over time most commonly a violet-colored or dusky red rash develops on the face and eyelids(heliotrope rash), knuckles (guttron’s sign), elbows, knees, chest and back(shawl sign). The rash can be itchy and painful.Muscle changes usually develops after the rash ,muscles are stiff and tender which make it difficult to do things like brushing hair ,walking upstairs and lifting legs.


Dermatomyositis might cause other conditions including Raynaud’s phenomenonwhen  fingersturn pale when exposed to cold temperature,cardiovascular diseases, lung diseases and increased likelihood of developing cancer.


Diagnosis of dermatomyositis is based on person’s medical history and a physical exam, also by ordering blood tests to look for autoantibodies. muscle biopsy, Electromyography ,and imaging screening for underlying cancer.


There’s no cure for dermatomyositis, but treatment aim is to improveskin rash and muscle strength and functionwith medications like corticosteroid and steroid sparing agents ,also general measures including sun protection and regular exercises.



Written by:

Yasmeen Alanazi, Dermatology resident, King Fahad Medical City.