Just like it is with many other muscle diseases, a doctor has to make a dermatomyositis diagnosis by considering individual family medical background, personal history and most importantly careful physical examinations. There are several lab tests that must be carried out to determine internal electrical activities in the muscles and normally a muscle biopsy. If DM is suspected then some of the tests that might be suggested include:
Blood Analysis: Blood tests will notify a doctor if the patient has higher levels of muscle enzymes for instance aldolase and creatine kinase abbreviated as CK. An increase in aldolase and CK levels indicates muscle damage. They’re also able to detect certain auto-antibodies related with various dermatomyositis symptoms. These help to determine best treatment and medication methods.
Muscle or Skin Biopsy: A minute piece of muscle or skin is taken out to be analyzed in the laboratory. A skin sample is able to confirm a dermatomyositis diagnosis thus ruling out different disorders like lupus. A biopsy is able to reveal muscle inflammation and other problems like infection or damage. Once a skin biopsy has confirmed the diagnosis then a muscle biopsy isn’t deemed so necessary.
Chest X-Ray: This is a simple test used for checking signs of the kind of lung damage which at times occurs with myositis.
Electromyography: A doctor who has specialized training will insert a thin needle electrocode via the skin into muscles for testing. Electrical activity gets measured as one relaxes or tightens the muscles. Changing patterns of electrical activities are able to confirm muscle diseases. Disease distribution can be determined through testing various muscles.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): A scanner is used to create cross sectional muscle images using generated data from powerful radio waves and a magnetic field. Unlike biopsies, MRI’s are able to assess inflammation over large muscle areas.
Please consult your doctor.