June 15, 2018
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Systemic Sclerosis

Posted by    mediclinic no comments

Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma) represents ‘hard skin’ which is a common finding in the patients affecting with this disease. It mainly occurs due to the abnormal growth of connective tissue under the skin and organs that resulted in scarring and thickening. Systemic sclerosis mainly affects the skin, muscles, blood vessels and internal organs such as lung, heart, intestines etc. In case you are also suspected with the symptoms of systemic sclerosis, then visit a nearby specialty clinic for systemic sclerosis treatment near Ludhiana.
Systemic sclerosis usually reaches to peak level in the age between 40-50 years. It is approximately 2 to 4 times more commonly occur in women than men. This disease is not linked to any race, geography, season, occupation or socioeconomic status.

Causes
Although the exact cause of scleroderma is still unknown, however, it is suspected that Systemic Sclerosis occurs when part of the immune system has become over-reactive or out of control and produces too much of collagen that gets deposited in the skin and other body organs causing the fibrosis (hardened skin) and organ dysfunction. An abnormal function of tissues along the lining of blood vessels may lead to conditions like Raynaud’s phenomenon and telangiectasias. All these complications are usually initiated by abnormal functioning of body’s own immune cells, also some environmental agents and hormones can stimulate cells to produce excessive collagen.

Symptoms 
In the early stages, Scleroderma may affect the skin only and causes skin thickening along with shiny areas around mouth, fingers, nose, and other bony areas.
As the disease progresses, it causes a restricted movement of the affected areas and many other symptoms such as loss of hair, white lumps under the skin, joint pain, dilated blood vessels under the skin surface, shortness of breath, dry cough, diarrhea, constipation, difficulty in swallowing, esophageal reflux, and abdominal bloating
Also, Systemic Sclerosis may cause spasms of the blood vessels, especially in fingers and toes areas to turn them white and blue particularly in the cold or extreme emotional stress. This condition is known as Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Complications 
Various serious complications related to Scleroderma include

  • high blood pressure
  • heart failure
  • kidney failure
  • cancer

Diagnosis
Usually, a scleroderma specialist performs a physical exam to identify the symptomatic changes in skin and organs related to Systemic Sclerosis. A high blood pressure may be the sign of changes in kidney function due to sclerosis. Various blood tests may be performed such as antibody testing, sedimentation rate, and rheumatoid factor.
Other diagnostic tests include; chest X-ray, urinalysis, CT scans of the lungs, and skin biopsies.

Treatment and Disease Management
Although no permanent cure is available for this condition, still various symptomatic treatments and medications can help patients to minimize their disease progression and overcome symptoms. All treatments are specially tailored according to every patient’s symptoms to prevent complications.
Medications to control generalized symptoms include:

  • Immunosuppressants, for e.g. methotrexate or Cytoxan
  • Corticosteroids
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Symptomatic treatments include

  • Medication to control high blood pressure
  • Medication to aid breathing
  • Physiotherapy
  • Photo-therapy, such as UVA1 phototherapy
  • Nitroglycerin cream or ointment to relieve tightening of the skin

Also, it would be of great help for Scleroderma patients to control their symptoms by adopting a healthy lifestyle and staying away from smoking and junk foods. You can book your appointment at Mediclinic to take an expert guidance or advice from a reputed scleroderma specialist in Ludhiana.

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