Scleroderma is not just one disorder. It is a group of some rare disorders bundled together which cause skin constriction and hardening. It also hardens and tightens the connective tissues which are responsible for overall structure and outline of human body.
What is Scleroderma?
Scleroderma is a rare autoimmune disease that stiffens the skin, turning simple everyday activities into real challenges. It can affect all organs in addition to the skin, and while treatments exist, there is currently no cure. More research is immediately needed.
Also known as Systemic Sclerosis, Scleroderma is a chronic disease of the connective tissue, immune and vascular systems, and presents a major management problem for patients and their doctors. Initial diagnosis is essential. New research has brought important improvements in therapies and care, so please join patient organisations and families as they spread awareness and support research.
Scleroderma patients frequently died from renal failure until the late 1970’s when they started treating the kidneys which kept patients alive long enough for them to die from lung issues caused by Scleroderma then the medical field started treating lungs, heart, esophagus and other symptoms. It can take a few years to get diagnosed with Scleroderma depending on where a patient lives. Scleroderma patients have gastrointestinal tract issues, esophagus swallowing issues, acid reflux and can lead to serious damage.
Key Facts of Scleroderma
- A group of rare disorders causing excessive hardening and tightening of skin to an uncomfortable level.
- Often times it is stuck to the skin but in severe cases it also spread to connective tissues and damage the overall structure such as blood vessels, digestive tract and some internal organs.
- Symptoms may vary as per the affected structure.
- Mostly women are the ones who have reported to be the victim of this disorder.
- The age range during which it becomes evident is between the ages of 30 and 50.
- There are two basic types of this disorder which are
Limited Scleroderma – affects hands, arms and face.
Diffuse Scleroderma – swiftly progresses and affects larger area of the skin.
Causes of Scleroderma
The exact cause or Causes of Scleroderma are quiet unknown but scientists and medical researchers are working hard to make those determinations. It is recognized that scleroderma involves an overproduction of collagen.
Even though doctors are not definite what Causes of Scleroderma this abnormal collagen production, the body’s immune system appears to play a role. Like in other autoimmune diseases such as lupus for unknown reasons, the immune system turns against the body, creating inflammation and in the exact case of scleroderma, the overproduction of collagen.
Symptoms of Scleroderma
Some very prominent Symptoms of Scleroderma that make the diagnosis simpler and much easier include:
- Brutal abdominal pain
- Low blood pressure
- Muscular weakness
- Appearance of spider veins
- Incapability to endure light
- sores on fingertips and knuckles
- Nerve damage
- Kidney disease
- Back pain
- Morning stiffness
Other common Symptoms of Scleroderma include:
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Dryness of the eyes and mouth
- Heartburn, bloating and other digestive symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- High blood pressure
Diagnosis of Scleroderma
No single test serves as a definitive Diagnosis of Scleroderma. Combinations of findings from physical examination, blood tests and tests which can assess problems with organs of the body aid diagnose scleroderma. Most people with scleroderma have optimistic tests for antinuclear antibodies. A proper diagnosis is required to pinpoint a right treatment.
Here are some of the things a doctor might use to help Diagnosis of Scleroderma:
- Your medical history
- A physical exam
- Lab tests to check for high levels of definite antibodies that are produced by the immune system
- A skin biopsy- The taking of a small tissue sample that will be taken to a laboratory and examined for any abnormalities
Prognosis of Scleroderma
In some people symptoms develop rapidly for the first few years and continue to get inferior. Though in most people the disease gets worse gradually.
People who have only skin symptoms have a well outlook. Systemic scleroderma can lead to.
- Heart failure
- Scarring of the lungs, called pulmonary fibrosis
- High blood pressure in the lungs pulmonary hypertension
- Kidney failure scleroderma renal crisis
- Problems absorbing nutrients from food
Risk Factors of Scleroderma
Scleroderma is not common. It afflicts about 300,000 Americans, about a third of who have the systemic form of the disease. The cause of scleroderma has not been determined, and there are few Risk Factors of Scleroderma. The occurrence tends to be higher in certain groups though.
Age: Systemic scleroderma typically develops between the ages of 35 and 55. It is particularly rare in children.
Family History: A family history is the strongest risk factor for scleroderma but even amongst family members the risk is very low less than 1%.
Gender: The occurrence of scleroderma is about four times higher in women than men and it is higher during child-bearing years.
Genetics: Genetic factors seem to play a role in triggering the disease but most cases are unlikely to be inherited.
Key Points of Scleroderma
Key Points of Scleroderma include are:
- Scleroderma causes abnormal development of connective tissue. It can affect the joints, skin and internal organs
- Scleroderma can affect one area of the body or affect the entire body.It is less common in children for it to affect the whole body
- There is no cure for scleroderma. Treatment is focused on relieving pain and reducing down damage to the body
- Because there is no clear disease-modifying therapy straight treatment at involved organs
- Initial identification of severe life-threatening organ manifestations can effect in improved quality of life and survival
Complications of Scleroderma
Medical Complications of Scleroderma can range from mild to severe depending on the type of scleroderma. Most of the below listed complications arise from systemic scleroderma:
- Thickened, tight skin
- Behavior and learning problems
- Vision changes
- GERD gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn
- Less lung function
- Heart and kidney damage
Prevention of Scleroderma
Currently there is no known method of Prevention of Scleroderma.
Patients who are diagnosed with scleroderma should appointment their healthcare providers frequently to monitor their conditions. Properly managing the symptoms of the disease may help raise the patient's quality of life and help slow the progression of the disease.
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Here we have some old school tips compiled for you to take advantage from. We will keep updating them as soon as we come up with something new through experiment. In the meanwhile read and follow these:
- Exercise regularly in order to stay active and keep the anxiety and depression at bay.
- Quit smoking as it causes contraction of blood vessels and in extreme cases causes permanent narrowing of blood vessels which cause lesser blood flow to the brain giving way to neurological problems.
- Stay miles away from foods that cause heartburn or causes bloating.
- Stay away from cold.
- Wear hand mittens, warm socks in order to prevent yourself from catching cold because that can make situation worse in patients affected by Scleroderma.
- Avoid lifting heavy weights and doing house chores to prevent back pain.
- Eat soft foods that are easily digestible to prevent any abdominal discomfort.
- All these tips will keep you motivated and make you feel good about yourself while you are still undergoing the Scleroderma management routine with our Herbal Alternative Medicine.
- These tips and tricks are by no means a replacement of actual products.