The most common signs and symptoms of dermatomyositis include:

  • Skin changes. A violet-colored or dusky red rash develops, most commonly on your face and eyelids and on areas around your nails, knuckles, elbows, knees, chest and back. The rash, which can be patchy with bluish-purple discolorations, is often the first sign of dermatomyositis.
  • Muscle weakness. Progressive muscle weakness involves the muscles closest to the trunk, such as those in your hips, thighs, shoulders, upper arms and neck. The weakness is symmetrical, affecting both the left and right sides of your body, and tends to gradually worsen.

Other dermatomyositis signs and symptoms that may occur include:

  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Muscle pain or tenderness
  • Fatigue, fever and weight loss
  • Hardened deposits of calcium under the skin (calcinosis), especially in children
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers and intestinal perforations, also more common in children
  • Lung problems

When to see a doctor

If you develop signs and symptoms associated with dermatomyositis, see your doctor for an evaluation and diagnosis. If you've already been diagnosed with the condition, contact your doctor if new symptoms occur or if existing symptoms worsen.

Jul. 07, 2011