Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune that causes the excessive production of collagen leading to hardening of the skin and affecting the joints, muscles, blood vessels and some internal organs, such as lungs and heart.
This disease mostly affects women, with more than 30 years, but can also occur in men and children, and is divided into two types, scleroderma, localized and systemic, according to its intensity. Scleroderma has no cure and its treatment is done to relieve the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
Scleroderma is located, formerly called Syndrome, and the CREST, is characterized by red patches that appear on the skin and that can harden with time, or disappear.
This type of disease mostly affects the hands and face, and the changes will generally only reach the skin and the muscles, being rare spread throughout the body and affect the internal organs.
Scleroderma systemic is characterized by affect the skin, muscles, blood vessels and internal organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys and intestine.
The symptoms of scleroderma depend on the affected regions, but, typically, begin with thickening and swelling of the tip of the fingers.
Symptoms of scleroderma
The main symptoms of scleroderma are:
- Thickening and stiffness of the skin;
- Swelling constant of the fingers and hands;
- Darkening of fingers and toes in cold temperatures or during episodes of excessive stress;
- Itching constant in the affected region;
- Hair loss;
- Stains very dark and very light on the skin.
The first manifestations of the disease begin in the hands and after months or years pass to the face, leaving the hardened skin without elasticity and without wrinkles, which also makes it difficult to fully open the mouth.
Complications of scleroderma
The main complications of scleroderma are:
- Difficulty moving the fingers;
- Difficulty swallowing;
- Difficulty breathing;
- High blood pressure;
- Inflammation of the liver;
- Heart problems, such as inflammation and myocardial;
- Renal failure.
These complications appear after years of development of the disease, and occur mainly in the form as a systemic disease.
Diagnosis of scleroderma
The diagnosis of scleroderma is made based on the symptoms and clinical manifestations of the skin, but in some cases it can be difficult to correctly identify this disease, because it evolves slowly and its first symptoms are similar to other skin problems.
The doctor may also ask for a biopsy of the affected region, and do tests such as ct scan and mri to evaluate whether internal organs were also affected.
Treatment of scleroderma
Scleroderma has no cure and its treatment is done to reduce the symptoms of the patient according to the organs and regions of the body affected and may include:
- Remedies to control high blood pressure, such as Atenolol or Nifedipine;
- Remedies anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ketoprofen or Ibuprofen;
- Medicines to weaken the immune system, such as D-penicillamine or Interferon-alpha, to try to prevent the progression of the disease;
- Remedies corticosteroids, such as Cortisone or Betamethasone, to reduce the pain and inflammation;
- Remedies to improve the functioning of the heart, such as Digoxin;
- Physiotherapy to improve breathing and increase flexibility of the joints.
The treatment for scleroderma should be adapted by the physician according to the individual, since there is no cure for scleroderma.