diseases

SCLERODERMA


Introduction
Scleroderma is a chronic disease characterized by excessive deposits of collagen in the skin or other organs. It is a group of diseases that causes abnormal growth of connective tissue, (the proteins that support your skin and organs). Scleroderma means hard skin.


Types of Scleroderma:
Localized scleroderma:
It affects only your skin. It includes the following sub classifications:
. Morphea: Thick patches oval in shape appear on skin. They are white in the middle with a purple border.
. Linear scleroderma: This form results in bands or streaks of hardened skin on one or both of your arms or legs, or on your forehead.

Systemic scleroderma: It affects your blood vessels and internal organs, as well as your skin.

It includes the following sub classifications:
. Diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis: It affects the skin of your fingers, hands, arms, legs, face, neck and trunk. It can also affect internal organs, such as your heart, kidneys, lungs and gastrointestinal tract including your esophagus. It can be fatal if left untreated.
. Limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis: This type involves the skin of your fingers, lower arms and legs, face and neck. It is also called CREST syndrome. The limited form is much milder. It has a slow onset and progression and a much better prognosis is expected.

Cause: The exact cause is not known. It is more common in women. It can be mild or severe. Scleroderma results from an overproduction and accumulation of collagen in body tissues.
. It is an autoimmune disorder.In these disorders, a person's antibodies are directed against his or her own tissues.
. Scleroderma can run in families.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of scleroderma include:

. Calcium deposits in connective tissues.
. Thickening and hardening of your skin.
. Scleroderma causes your skin to lose its elasticity and become shiny as it stretches across underlying bone.
. Raynauds phenomenon : Narrowing of blood vessels in the hands or feet. Numbness, pain or color changes in your fingers, toes, cheeks, nose and ears, often triggered by cold or emotional distress
. Digestive problems such as poor absorption of nutrients, delayed movement of food due to impaired muscular activity in your intestine, dyspepsia, bloating, and early satiety.
. Constipation alternating with diarrhea.
. Swelling of the esophagus,
. Thick, tight skin on your fingers.
. Red spots on your hands and face. Hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation.
. Stiffness or pain in your joints and curling of your fingers
. Fatigue
. Weight loss.

Complications:
. Pulmonary Fibrosis
. Weight loss and malnutrition due to wasting which occurs in the muscular walls of your intestine.
. Hypertension when scleroderma affects your kidneys and renal crisis when there is sudden increase in blood pressure and kidney failure.
. Heart complications: arrhythmias.

Diagnosis: A detail medical history and general physical examination is carried out by your doctor looking for thickened skin and hyper pigmentation.
The following tests are also conducted:
. Blood tests: People with scleroderma have elevated blood levels of certain antibodies produced by the immune system.
. Biopsy: Your doctor may remove a small tissue sample (biopsy) of your affected skin to be examined in the laboratory for abnormalities.
Other tests are also recommended to know any lung, heart or gastrointestinal complications accompanying scleroderma.

Management:
. Wear warm clothing's to protect yourself from cold if you have Raynaud's phenomenon.
. Avoid smoking as smoking causes blood vessels to contract due to the presence of nicotine and aggravate Raynaud's phenomenon.
. Avoid spicy food that may cause heartburn.
. Yoga, meditation will keep you away from depression.

Homeopathic treatment: It includes giving the Constitutional homeopathic remedy which will help in improving the resistance of the person. There are also acute Homeopathic remedies which are prescribed depending upon the symptom totality which helps in relieving the acute symptoms.

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