Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the connective tissue, this of which is found all over our body in our skin, joints and in most of our organs. It happens when the antibodies in your immune system would damage your tissues, which is contrary to their main purpose of which is to protect them. That in turn would cause the scarring of the affected areas that would also make them thicken. Blood supply to the affected area is limited and that causes the function to also be limited.
Scleroderma can happen to anyone, but it is more likely to appear in some than it is on others. Scleroderma is four times more likely to happen to women than it is on men and it usually develops between the ages of 30 and 50. It is also found often in African-American women and of the Native American Choctaw tribe. It rarely occurs among northern Asians and children.
What Are The Types Of Scleroderma?
Scleroderma can be classified according the area that it is affecting as well as the degree. Mainly, there are two forms of scleroderma. The localized type is known as limited scleroderma. This type would usually only affect a small portion, usually on the skin and even if it could disable a patient, it is not fatal most of the time. While this is considerably mild, it could develop rapidly and could start affecting the organs, if that happens, the condition in known as systemic sclerosis.
Systemic sclerosis is the severe form of the disease and would tend to be more fatal than the localized type. This is because it limits blood flow to the organs, causing different types of problems. The affected organs can be anywhere from the digestive system, the kidney, the lungs and the heart. Conditions with organs however can be managed with the use of careful medication.
What Are The Symptoms?
Scleroderma would usually begin with Raynaud’s phenomenon or other skin problems. After that, it could stop there if it is limited scleroderma of it could spread to other organs if the condition is systemic sclerosis. The most common part to be affected with the development of scleroderma within are the digestive organs, primarily the esophagus. The kidneys are also one of the most affected organs with scleroderma.
While cardiac involvement in scleroderma is quite rare, it is one of the most fatal types of scleroderma as it can cause numerous heart diseases. Lung problems brought about by scleroderma used to be the leading cause of death until effective medications were discovered and changed the whole picture. As of now, these problems with different organs can be managed with medical help.
How Can It Be Cured?
Since scleroderma has no definite cause, it also has no known cure. The approach to scleroderma treatment is more of limiting damages and treating individual symptoms rather than completely removing the cause of scleroderma in a patient. This however has turned out well in fact, lung problems which used to be the leading cause of deaths in scleroderma patients has already been managed well. Medications which have proven effective have changed the whole picture and so has it for other body parts.
If ever a patient should develop side effects or further complications with medications, he or she could either take alternative medications or go for surgery. All of these treatment methods go well with rehabilitation therapy every once in a while to restore normal organ function and as well as clean and healthy living.