Blood Disorders Treatment > Scleroderma Autoimmune Connective Tissue Disorder
Find here the detailed information of Scleroderma symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for this Autoimmune Connective Tissue Disorder.
Thickening and hardening of the connective tissues in the skin, joints and internal organs. Scleroderma, also known as systemic sclerosis, is a rare disorder in which the connective tissues that hold together the structures of the body become inflamed, damaged and thickened. The tissues, particularly those in the skin, then contract and harden. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder in which the body produces antibodies that attack and damage its own connective tissues. The reason for this reaction is unknown, but genetic factors may play a part since the condition sometimes runs in families and is more common in people of African descent. Scleroderma is four times more common in women than it is in men and occurs most commonly in adults under age of 50.
Symptoms of Scleroderma Autoimmune Connective Tissue Disorder
Scleroderma commonly affects the skin and the joints, but other organs may be involved. Symptoms vary from mild to severe and may include:
- Fingers or toes that are sensitive to the cold, becoming white and painful.
- Ulcers and small, hardened areas that appear on the fingers.
- Swollen fingers or hands.
- Pain in the joints, especially the joints in the hands.
- Thickening and tightening of the skin, which is most severe on the limbs but may affect the trunk and face.
- Muscle weakness.
- Difficulty swallowing due to stiffening of the tissues of the esophagus.
If the lungs are affected, shortness of breath may develop. In some people, scleroderma causes high blood pressure and eventually kidney failure.
Scleroderma Autoimmune Connective Tissue Disorder Treatment
Scleroderma Autoimmune Connective Tissue Disorder can be diagnosed from the symptoms and from physical examination. Blood tests should be done for detecting certain antibodies. A small skin sample may also be taken for examination. There is no cure for Scleroderma, but treatment can slow the progression of the condition, reducing the damage to the body organs and relieving symptoms.
Thickening of the skin may be slowed down by antirheumatic drugs. If the lungs are affected, an immunosuppressant may be prescribed. A corticosteroid may be given to relieve joint pain. Doctor may advise the patient to wear gloves and socks to protect the fingers and toes against the cold. The course of scleroderma is variable. The condition may remain mild or having been severe may improve spontaneously. In rare cases, systemic sclerosis progresses rapidly and is fatal.
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