I remember the day Mo called me at work to tell me he was diagnosed with Dermatomyositis. Here’s what my co-workers overheard:

“Hey! How’d it go at the doctor’s?….you’re getting tests for what? wait, what? I don’t understand what you’re saying. talk slower. what? you saying it louder isn’t helping. spell it. D-e-r-m-a-t-wait, spell slower… D-e-r-m-a-t-o-m-y-o-s-i-t-i-s. Derm like skin, okay, myositis… What the hell is that???”

At the many MANY doctors visits later, and reading everything we could on the internet, it became very clear we were going to need to learn the lingo of myositis. Even better – learn the shorthand of myositis so we didn’t have to write out “dermatomyositis” every time we wanted to talk to someone or had to fill out a medical form!

If you’re new to myositis and the acronyms are flying on a discussion board it is very easy to get lost. Just like a texting tween, the messages are sometimes indecipherable. Within the community you’ll hear the following terms OFTEN, so don’t worry. Here’s your Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring (no purchase of Ovaltine required):

DM = Dermatomyositis

JM/JDM = Juvenile Myositis/Dermatomyositis

NM = Necrotizing Myopathy, usually a statin-induced form of myositis

PM= Polymyositis

IBM = Inclusion Body Myositis

TMA = The Myositis Association

MDA = Muscular Dystrophy Association

Here are some medical acronyms you may also hear:

Anti-Jo-1 = autoantibody associated with higher incidence of Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)

Anti-SRP = antibody associated most with polymyositis

Anti-Mi-2 = another antibody associated with myositis

CPK = Creatine phosphokinase, an enzyme found mainly in the heart, brain, and skeletal muscles

CT = Computed Tomography (scan), multiple x-rays of your body to study skeletal and soft tissues

ECG/EKG = Electrocardiogram, a recording of the electrical activity of your heart

ILD = Interstitial Lung Disease, progressive scarring of the lungs

IVIG = Intravenous Immunoglobulin (aka IGIV), used as a treatment in DM, PM

MRI = Magnetic Resonance Image (scan), uses magnetic and radio waves to image organs and tissue

MMT = Manual Muscle Testing, tests a person’s muscle strength to resistance or movement

MCTD = Mixed connective tissue disease, having multiple autoimmune diseases like lupus, scleroderma and polymyositis

MTX = Methotrexate, commonly prescribed drug for myositis patients

OT = Occupational Therapy

PT = Physio or Physical Therapy

WTH = What The Hell (technically not a medical term, but you will use this one quite a bit)

For even more terms and non-acronyms, TMA’s Glossary is the Rosetta Stone for myositis! Click here.


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