Pulmonary Involvement With Scleroderma

What Is Scleroderma?

Scleroderma is quite rare, only affecting 14 out of every 1million persons worldwide. Most commonly, scleroderma affects women more than men and those who are between ages 35 and 54. Symptoms of scleroderma vary depending on what part of the body it is affecting. The most common symptom however is the development of scar tissue on the skin coupled with sensitivity and pain.

A more severe form of scleroderma is known as systemic sclerosis which is shown by the development of scar tissue on the skin as well as involvement with other parts of the body such as the joints, muscle, digestive organs, heart, kidneys and lungs. Lung involvement with scleroderma is one of the most common cases with 70% of all cases having such. It follows the symptoms shown by the skin which would account for 95% of all cases.

What Are The Causes Of Scleroderma Lung Disease?

As of today, there are no known causes of any form of scleroderma although a lot of medical experts have theories on the causes. Some would say that is very much genetic, thus if a person would develop scleroderma, his relatives are also at greater risk of having it. Some would also say that it is environmental and are caused by different substances in the environment.

Another theory would say that the left-over fetal cells after pregnancy that are still circulating in the mother’s bloodstream even after decades after pregnancy has a role in causing the illness, considering the common category of people who develop scleroderma which are women in between the ages 35 and 54. Although these theories could be reliable, it is not backed up by solid scientific proof.

What Are The Symptoms Of Scleroderma Lung Disease?

If you show the early symptoms of scleroderma which can be found on the skin coupled by shortness of breath especially during exercise and dry cough without mucus, then it is very likely that your lungs are affected by scleroderma. In order for you to be assured, you can see a doctor to get diagnosed. The doctor then will conduct a blood test to see how your antibodies are doing.

Since scleroderma is an autoimmune disease, it happens when your antibodies are attacking your own tissues. The doctors will be able to know this through a blood test of which they could see if that is so. For lung involvement, you would undergo a physical exam, chest x-ray and a lung function test to see how capable your lungs are of doing its purpose.

How Do You Treat Scleroderma In Lungs?

As of now, there is also no known drug that can stop scleroderma from developing in the lungs. The medical approaches taken to relieve a patient from the symptoms that he or she would have is more of a rehabilitative approach rather than an attempt to entirely remove the illness. In doing this, the doctor would give therapies to a patient to relieve him or her from shortness of breath.

Numerous medications have failed and some experts have concluded that none of those that are available would work. Because of that, they would recommend constant rehabilitation of the lungs although significant improvement in lung function is unlikely to happen here. Since the causes and medications of scleroderma are unknown to the medical world, there is much to be explored and to be found out in it.