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Scleroderma

Scleroderma

Scleroderma is a rare skin condition that causes hardening and thickening of the skin, as well as difficulties with internal organs and blood vessels. Scleroderma is a condition in which the immune system attacks the connective tissue beneath the skin, as well as the tissue around internal organs and blood vessels.
Scleroderma is a rare skin condition that causes hardening and thickening of the skin, as well as difficulties with internal organs and blood vessels. Scleroderma is a condition in which the immune system attacks the connective tissue beneath the skin, as well as the tissue around internal organs and blood vessels.

Understanding Scleroderma

Scleroderma is a rare autoimmune connective tissue disease that causes the hardening and thickening of the skin. But the disorder isn’t confined to skin changes. It can affect your:

  • Blood vessels
  • Muscles
  • Heart
  • Digestive system
  • Lungs
  • Kidneys

Scleroderma is a condition in which the immune system attacks the connective tissue beneath the skin, as well as the tissue around internal organs and blood vessels. This results in scarring and tissue thickening in certain locations.

Scleroderma comes in a variety of forms with varying degrees of severity. Some varieties are benign and may resolve on their own, while others can lead to serious and life-threatening complications.

Scleroderma has no treatment, yet most people who have it can live a full and active life. Scleroderma symptoms can usually be treated with a variety of therapies.

It has an annual incidence rate of four cases per million, a prevalence of 30 instances per million, and a female predominance of 4:1 in the United Kingdom. It can affect people of any age range, however, it is more common in people between 30 to 50.

Scleroderma, progressive systemic sclerosis, and CREST syndrome are all terms for systemic sclerosis. The acronym “CREST” stands for:

  • Calcinosis
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon
  • Oesophageal dysmotility (esophageal dysmotility – in the USA)
  • Sclerodactyly
  • Telangiectasia

What are the types
of Scleroderma?

Types of Scleroderma

What are the types of Scleroderma?

Scleroderma is divided into two types:

Localised scleroderma

Affects only your skin is known as localised scleroderma. It manifests itself in one of two ways:

  • Morphea. This is characterised by hard, oval-shaped spots on the skin. They begin crimson or purple and eventually fade to a pale colour in the middle. This type can sometimes harm blood vessels or internal organs. Generalized morphea is the term for this condition.
  • Linear. This type causes thicker skin lines or streaks on your arms, legs, or face.

Systemic scleroderma

Scleroderma that affects multiple body parts or systems is known as systemic scleroderma or generalised scleroderma. There are two kinds of them:

Limited scleroderma

This is a gradual onset condition that affects the skin of your face, hands, and feet. It can also harm your lungs, intestines, and oesophagus, which is the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. It’s also known as CREST syndrome, after the five symptoms that it exhibits:

  • Calcinosis. Calcium salts create nodules under your skin or in your organs when this happens.
  • Raynaud’s syndrome. A condition in which the blood vessels in the hands and feet become cold A lack of blood flow to some portions of your body, such as your fingers, toes, or nose, is caused by a cold. It’s possible that your skin will turn red, white, or blue.
  • Dysfunction of the oesophagus. This occurs when your oesophagus does not function properly.
  • Sclerodactyly. This is a skin thickening condition. It frequently makes it difficult to move your fingers and toes.
  • Telangiectasia. This occurs when little blood vessels form near the skin’s surface.
Diffuse scleroderma

This happens quickly. Thick skin can develop on the centre of your body, thighs, upper arms, hands, and feet. Internal organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract are also affected by this type.

What are the symptoms
of Scleroderma?

Symptoms of Scleroderma

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SCLERODERMA?

In the early stages of the disease, Scleroderma may simply affect the skin. Around your lips, nose, fingers, and other bony places, you may notice your skin thickening and glossy spots appearing.

As the illness worsens, you may have restricted movement in the affected areas. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Hair thinning
  • Calcium deposits, often known as white lumps under the skin, are a common occurrence.
  • Under the skin’s surface, there are small, dilated blood vessels.
  • Joint discomfort
  • Breathing problems
  • A cough that is dry
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Swallowing problems
  • Oesophagal reflux disease
  • Swelling in the abdomen after eating

The blood vessels in your fingers and toes may begin to spasm. When you’re chilly or under a lot of emotional stress, your extremities may turn white and blue. Raynaud’s phenomenon is the name for this condition.

What Causes
Scleroderma?

Causes of Scleroderma

What Causes Scleroderma?

Normally, the immune system of the body fights off any pathogens that infiltrate it. It reacts in this way to everything it doesn’t recognise in the body, then calms down after the infection is gone.

Scleroderma is hypothesised to develop when a portion of the immune system becomes overactive and out of control. This causes connective tissue cells to produce too much collagen, resulting in scarring and tissue thickening (fibrosis).

It’s unclear why this occurs. It’s considered that certain genes are involved, and having a close relative with the disease may raise your risk.

How is
Scleroderma
diagnosed?

Diagnosis of Scleroderma

How is Scleroderma diagnosed?

During a physical examination, your doctor can detect Scleroderma-related skin abnormalities.

Scleroderma-related kidney abnormalities might lead to high blood pressure. Blood tests such as antibody testing, rheumatoid factor, and sedimentation rate may be ordered by your doctor.

Other diagnostic tests that may be used include:

  • An X-ray of the chest
  • A urinalysis is a test that looks at your urine to see if you
  • A pulmonary CT scan (Scan of the lungs)
  • Gastrointestinal tests
  • Lung function tests
  • Heart tests such as EKGs and echocardiograms

They may also take a small sample of skin (called a biopsy) to examine under a microscope by a specialist.

What are some Scleroderma
risks factors?

Scleroderma Risks

What are some Scleroderma risks factors?

The following are risk factors that can enhance your chances of having the disease:

  • Being of Native American descent
  • Being of African-Caribbean ancestry
  • Being a woman
  • Using certain chemotherapy drugs such as Bleomycin
  • Being exposed to organic solvents and silica dust

Other than reducing risk factors that you can manage, there is no proven strategy to prevent Scleroderma.

What is the treatment
options for Scleroderma?

Scleroderma Treatment

What is the treatment options for Scleroderma?

Treatment will not cure the ailment, but it will assist to alleviate symptoms and slow the advancement of the disease. Treatment is usually determined by a person’s symptoms as well as the need to avoid consequences.

Treatment options for nonspecific symptoms include:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Immunosuppressive drugs like methotrexate and Cytoxan
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines)  like ibuprofen or aspirin. They can help with swelling and pain.
  • Steroids and other drugs can trigger your immune system to become sluggish. These can aid in the treatment of muscle, joint, and internal organ issues.
  • Medications to boost blood flow to your fingers
  • Drugs to open blood vessels in your lungs or to keep tissue from scarring
  • Antibiotics
  • Medication for heartburn
  • Medications to assist in moving food through your intestines

Treatment may involve the following, depending on your symptoms:

  • Medicine for high blood pressure
  • Breathing assistance medicine
  • Physical therapy
  • Light therapy, such as ultraviolet A1 phototherapy
  • Nitroglycerin ointment to treat localized areas of tightening of the skin
  • Exercise
  • Increase the amount of fibre and water in your diet
  • Occupational therapy
  • Stress management
  • If your organs are seriously damaged, you may need an organ transplant

 

To keep healthy with scleroderma, undertake lifestyle adjustments such as quitting smoking, staying physically active, and avoiding foods that cause heartburn.

Alternative and Complementary therapies used
when treating Scleroderma patients

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

For several decades, Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been utilised to treat refractory wounds, with the majority of studies focusing on wounds caused by arterial insufficiency. We present a study of two scleroderma patients with intractable bilateral extremities ulcers 1.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy has been proven to be safe and effective in applications such as the treatment of Scleroderma 2, 3.

Ozone therapy

Ozone therapy improved the movability of the interphalanx joints, reduced skin thickness, and raised the superficial skin temperature. Clinical parameter improvement in individuals with advanced systemic sclerosis could be considered an alternative therapy option for this group of patients 4.

Red Light Therapy

According to a new study, Red light therapy applied locally using a lamp that emits infrared, red, and ultraviolet light reduced the burden of digital ulcers in patients with systemic sclerosis (Scleroderma) by 83 percent. heart 5.

Infrared Sauna therapy

Infrared sauna therapy can aid in the treatment of autoimmune disorders by reducing stress, alleviating chronic pain, and assisting in the sweating out of toxins that accumulate over days, weeks, and months. 6.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy outside the chamber

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

For several decades, Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been utilised to treat refractory wounds, with the majority of studies focusing on wounds caused by arterial insufficiency. We present a study of two scleroderma patients with intractable bilateral extremities ulcers 1.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy has been proven to be safe and effective in applications such as the treatment of Scleroderma 2, 3.

Ozone Therapy

Ozone therapy

Ozone therapy improved the movability of the interphalanx joints, reduced skin thickness, and raised the superficial skin temperature. Clinical parameter improvement in individuals with advanced systemic sclerosis could be considered an alternative therapy option for this group of patients 4.

Red Light Therapy

Red Light Therapy

According to a new study, Red light therapy applied locally using a lamp that emits infrared, red, and ultraviolet light reduced the burden of digital ulcers in patients with systemic sclerosis (Scleroderma) by 83 percent. heart 5.

Infrared Sauna Therapy Mobile

Infrared Sauna therapy

Infrared sauna therapy can aid in the treatment of autoimmune disorders by reducing stress, alleviating chronic pain, and assisting in the sweating out of toxins that accumulate over days, weeks, and months. 6.

What are the Potential
Complications of Scleroderma?

Scleroderma Complications

What are the Potential Complications of Scleroderma?

Complications that may occur as a result of treatment include:

  • In your lungs, you have high blood pressure.
  • In your lungs, there is scar tissue.
  • The blood supply to your fingers and toes is cut off.
  • Inflammation of the muscles
  • Infection
  • Failure of the kidneys

Summary

Scleroderma Summary

Summary

Scleroderma treatments have vastly improved in the last 30 years. Despite the fact that there is no cure for Scleroderma, there are a variety of therapies available to assist you to manage your symptoms. If any of your symptoms are interfering with your regular life, consult your doctor. They can collaborate with you to make changes to your treatment plan.

You should also ask your doctor to assist you in finding local Scleroderma support groups. It can be easier to cope with a chronic ailment if you talk to other individuals who have had similar experiences.