Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to first see your family doctor, who might refer you to a doctor who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones (rheumatologist) or to a doctor who specializes in disorders of the nervous system (neurologist).

What you can do

Make a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms and when they began
  • Information about medical problems you've had, and those of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take and their doses
  • Questions to ask the doctor

Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.

For dermatomyositis, questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms?
  • What are other possible causes?
  • Are my symptoms likely to change over time?
  • What tests might I need? Are special preparations required?
  • Are treatments available for my condition? What treatments do you recommend?
  • I have other medical conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Do you have brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor will likely ask you questions, such as:

  • Did your condition develop gradually or come on suddenly?
  • Are you easily fatigued during waking hours?
  • Does your condition limit your activities?
  • Has anyone in your family been diagnosed with a condition that affects the muscles?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
July 14, 2017
References
  1. Dermatomyositis. The Myositis Association. http://www.myositis.org/learn-about-myositis/types-of-myositis/dermatomyositis. Accessed April 23, 2017.
  2. Dermatomyositis information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Dermatomyositis-Information-Pagel. Accessed April 23, 2017.
  3. Miller ML, et al. Clinical manifestations of dermatomyositis and polymyositis in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 23, 2017.
  4. Polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal-and-connective-tissue-disorders/autoimmune-rheumatic-disorders/polymyositis-and-dermatomyositis. Accessed April 25, 2017.
  5. Dermatomyositis. Muscular Dystrophy Association. https://www.mda.org/disease/dermatomyositis. Accessed April 23, 2017.
  6. Miller ML. Initial treatment of dermatomyositis and polymyositis in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 23, 2017.