Need to know about Scleroderma
Skin diseases are more common than one would imagine. It might surprise you that skin diseases affect more than 900 million people at a given time, a number expected to rise in the future. While skin conditions can be aesthetically displeasing and impact your confidence, the fact that they can exacerbate if not treated on time is a more significant cause for concern.
There are many types of skin diseases, each with a list of causes, symptoms, and treatments. In this blog, we focus on Scleroderma.
An uncommon skin disease affecting 30 people per billion population, there are about 125,000 cases of Scleroderma in the US. If you or someone you know has Scleroderma, we hope you find this article helpful in your research.
Table of Contents
What Is Scleroderma, and what are its causes?
Scleroderma is a type of chronic skin disease not confined to damaging only the skin but affecting the internal organs and connective tissues. In most cases, Scleroderma occurs when the immune system forces the body to produce too much of a specific protein known as collagen, an essential component of skin health.
Due to the excess production of collagen in the body, the skin becomes tight and thick, and if left untreated, scars start forming on the kidneys and lungs. With time, the blood vessels begin to thicken and might even stop working the way they are supposed to in some cases. This results in high blood pressure and can even cause tissue damage.
Scleroderma occurs due to a defect in the immune system. It is also a non-communicable disease. This means you cannot get Scleroderma through physical contact with a person affected by the disease or by sharing food with them.
Who is at risk of Scleroderma?
Anyone can get Scleroderma, but some groups have a higher risk of developing the disease. The following factors might play a part-
Age – The disease is more prevalent between the age of 30 to 50 years and is more common in adults than children.
Gender – It has been found that Scleroderma is more common in women than men.
Race – There is no ethnic or racial predilection in the spread of Scleroderma. However, in the case of African Americans, the disease shows more severe symptoms.
What are the symptoms of Scleroderma?
Now that we have explored Scleroderma causes, let us look at the symptoms to watch for to prevent the disease from worsening.
- Thickening and swelling of the fingers
- Pale fingers are also quite common in Scleroderma. Whenever these are exposed to stress or cold, they tingle and can even go numb.
- A person suffering from Scleroderma might experience joint pain that worsens during winter
- Swollen blood vessels appear on the skin
- In some cases, ulcers and rashes appear on the skin that spread over time
- Diarrhea, constipation, and even heartburn are common symptoms of Scleroderma
The treatment of Scleroderma is a long-term process and usually involves:
- Pain relief with anti-inflammatory and nonsteroidal medicines
- Applying skin lotion and moisturizer to ease skin itching and irritation
- Exercise or muscle therapy to maintain muscle strength
- Keeping the gut healthy with the help of medicines for better absorption of vitamins
- Using medication for treating specific symptoms such as heartburn
- Counseling and therapy for dealing with emotional stress
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is advisable to consult a specialist for timely diagnosis and treatment.
Need to know about Scleroderma