What is Scleroderma?
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease affecting the skin and other organs of the body, meaning that the body’s immune system is causing inflammation and other abnormalities in these tissues. The main finding in scleroderma is thickening and tightening of the skin and inflammation and scarring of many body parts, leading to problems in the lungs, kidneys, heart, intestinal system and other areas. There is still no cure for scleroderma but effective treatments for some forms of the disease are available.
Scleroderma is relatively rare. Twins and family members of those with scleroderma or other autoimmune connective tissue diseases, such as lupus, may have a slightly higher risk of getting scleroderma. Children can also develop scleroderma, but the disease is different in children than in adults.
Although the underlying cause is unknown, promising research is shedding light on the relationship between the immune system and scleroderma. A great deal of research is also underway to find better treatments for scleroderma and, hopefully, someday a cure.
These can often effectively control kidney damage if started early and the use of these drugs has been a major advance in treating scleroderma. Muscle pain and weakness can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs such as glucocorticoids (prednisone), intravenous immunoglobin (IVIg), and/or immunosuppressive medications.
Treatment for Scleroderma
- Some treatments are effective in treating some aspects of this disease, there is no drug that has been clearly proven to stop or reverse, the key symptom of skin thickening and hardening. Medications that have proven helpful in treating other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, usually don’t work for people with scleroderma. Doctors aim to curb individual symptoms and prevent further complications with a combination of drugs and self-care.
• Raynaud’s phenomenon can be treated with drugs such as calcium channel blockers or drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors ⎼ sildenafil (Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®) ⎼, which open up narrowed blood vessels and improve circulation. To prevent further damage, it’s important to keep the whole body warm, especially fingers and toes. It’s also important to protect fingertips and other skin areas from injury, which can happen even during normal daily activities.
• Heartburn (acid reflux) can be treated with antacid drugs, especially proton-pump inhibitors (omeprazole and others). These medications ease gastro-oesophagal reflux disease (known as GERD).
• Scleroderma kidney disease can be treated with blood pressure medications called “angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors” (ACE inhibitors). These can often effectively control kidney damage if started early and the use of these drugs has been a major advance in treating scleroderma.
• Muscle pain and weakness this can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs like glucocorticoids (prednisone), intravenous immunoglobin (IVIg), and/or immunosuppressive medications. Physical and occupational therapy may be useful to maintain joint and skin flexibility. Early referral to therapy should be considered to help prevent the loss of joint motion and function.
There are two types of lung disease that patients with scleroderma may develop. The first type is called interstitial lung disease, which causes scarring of the lung tissue. There is evidence that medications, such as cyclophosphamide and mycophenolate, are somewhat effective in treating the interstitial lung disease in scleroderma. Clinical trials are ongoing, evaluating the effectiveness of several other drugs for this problem. The second type of lung disease seen in scleroderma is pulmonary arterial hypertension (high blood pressure in the arteries in the lungs). A number of drugs have become available to treat this condition, which works by opening up the blood vessels in the lungs to improve flow. Medications used for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension are usually managed by specialists in the condition and include prostacyclin-like drugs (epoprostenol, treprostinil, iloprost), the endothelin receptor antagonists (bosentan, ambrisentan), and PDE-5 inhibitors (sildenafil, vardenafil, tadalafil).
Much research is ongoing into new treatments for scleroderma. Patients and their families should know that experts remain optimistic and take comfort in the fact that work towards a cure will continue. And medicine should be taken properly.
- Scleroderma varies from person to person but can be very serious.
There are medications, as well as steps individuals can take, to ease the symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon, skin problems, and heartburn.
- Effective treatments are available for those with severe disease, including acute kidney disease, pulmonary hypertension, lung inflammation, and gastrointestinal problems.
- It is important to recognize and treat organ involvement early on to prevent irreversible damage.
- Patients should see physicians with specialized expertise in the care of this complex disease.
Scleroderma & Sclerosis
Systemic scleroderma, also called diffuse scleroderma or systemic sclerosis, is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. It is characterized by thickening of the skin caused by the accumulation of collagen, and by injuries to small arteries. There are two forms of scleroderma localized and systemic.
What is Sclerosis?
Sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves resulting in nerve damage disrupts communication between the brain and the body.
Multiple sclerosis causes many different symptoms, including vision loss, pain, fatigue, and impaired coordination. The symptoms, severity, and duration can vary from person to person. Some people may be symptom-free for most of their lives, while others can have severe.
Physiotherapy and medication that suppress the immune system can help with symptoms, and slow disease progression.
What is sclerosis of the bone?
Bone sclerosis is an abnormal increase in density and hardening of bone” according to Biology online. In our clinical practice, sclerotic bone lesions are relatively common to be found on plain radiographs or CT scans.
Causes of Sclerosis –
Diffuse skeletal infarcts are the common causes of diffuse skeletal sclerosis. In fact, in areas where sickle cell disease is common, this may be the leading cause of diffuse sclerotic bones. Patients with sclerotic lesions due to metastasis often have a history of the prior malignant disease.