While the skin is the most affected organ in all cases of scleroderma, another one of the most affected organs are those that are found in the digestive system that would occur on around 75% to 85% of all cases. Patients with gastro-intestinal involvement in scleroderma would experience difficulty in their day to day lives as an effect brought about by scleroderma.
Scleroderma causes the walls of the affected organ in the digestive system to thicken, thus limiting the blood flow towards it. This in turn would limit the functions of the affected organ and would give rise to several problems which refer to the organ that is affected. Esophageal problems can occur in all forms of scleroderma, involvement with other organs in the digestive system such as the intestines, the liver and the stomach are only limited to systemic sclerosis.
There is no recognized cause of scleroderma, what is known is how it works. Scleroderma happens when a person’s antibodies would attack his or her own tissues, which is contradicting to its main purpose which is to protect them from harmful factors. This would in turn cause the affected area to thicken that would limit blood flow to it causing the normal function of the affected area to be dysfunctional, limited or completely dead.
Scleroderma would usually begin with the skin in the form of calcinosis or Raynaud’s phenomenon, symptoms which can be easily seen and felt in the skin. If the symptoms stop developing from that point, then that case is limited scleroderma however if it spreads to other organs, that case is systemic sclerosis and that could even get worse as it could still spread to other organs.
How Is This Diagnosed?
Diagnosis is mainly based on symptoms however; it is officially made after a series of medical tests. There are several medical tests that people with suspicions about it can undergo, the simplest in an x-ray of which the doctor can see how your digestive system is doing. For sever cases, a surgical biopsy is done. This would involve having the doctor take scrapings of the linings of the affected organ and having it examined under a microscope.
Another way of diagnosing gastro-intestinal involvement in scleroderma is through endoscopy or by having the doctor view your digestive system through a small camera. This will allow the doctor to see which areas are affected by the scleroderma and see how it has developed within. It is very important for the doctor to know accurate details about a patient’s condition, especially for gastro-intestinal involvement in scleroderma since it will be their basis on what treatment approach to follow.
Can This Be Treated?
A very important point that all people involved in scleroderma or all those who are concerned with it is that it is treatable. The thought of scleroderma having no known cause or no treatments in general would usually discourage a lot of people. Gastro-intestinal involvement in scleroderma is very much possible as long as it is diagnosed and treated as early as possible. If significant damage has already been inflicted, little can be done to reverse those effects.
The key to treatment of gastro-intestinal involvement in scleroderma is to have it diagnosed as early as possible, taking care of yourself and careful medical attention. Make sure that you and your doctor would help each other out in treating you of your condition.