Scleroderma

21:54 - 4 May , 2021

Disease

What is Scleroderma?

It is a chronic autoimmune disease in which there is an abnormal growth of connective tissues and hardening of the skin, which can affect vital organs such as the heart, stomach, lungs, kidneys, or blood vessels. The origin of this strange condition that occurs in three out of every 100,000 people is unknown. However, it has been identified that an immune system dysfunction, which defends the body from infections and foreign agents to the body, is one of the direct culprits. Similarly, genetic predisposition and environmental issues have been identified as possible causes. Anyone can suffer from it, although its incidence is higher in women between 30 and 55 years old. Scleroderma is classified into:
  • Focused: there is only skin damage, being able to spread to the bone, muscle, and joint system.
  • Generalized: in addition to the skin, it attacks various organs internally.
  • Without scleroderma: so named because the damage occurs only to the internal organs, not the skin.
Scleroderma can arise simultaneously with other pathologies. Its evolution depends on each person, but alterations generally occur at three different levels:
  • Vascular involvement: the blood vessels become thinner and stiffer.
  • Inflammatory changes: the tissues and organs of the body harden due to the increased production of collagen.
  • Autoimmune problems: reactions of the immune system.

Symptoms

They depend on each patient, but the general symptoms are the following:
  • Anxiety.
  • Decreased body weight.
  • Pigmentary alterations in fingers, hands, and feet.
  • Tiredness and weakness.
  • Internal organs involvement:
    • Heart.
    • Stomach.
    • Lungs.
    • Kidneys.
  • Depression.
  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Edema in the fingers.
  • Hand swelling.
  • Recurring infections.
  • Insomnia.
  • Skin ulcers
Due to the complexity of scleroderma and the diversity of symptoms, comprehensive, and multidisciplinary care is recommended.

Diagnosis and treatment

In addition to analyzing your symptoms and your medical history, the doctor will perform a complete physical examination and will order blood tests and diagnostic tests to assess whether and to what extent there is internal organ damage. Although there is no specific treatment for this condition, the usual therapy is to help control symptoms and prevent complications, through:
  • Vasodilators: to improve blood circulation.
  • Anti-fibrotic: to prevent collagen overproduction.
  • Immunosuppressants: to lower the immune system.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Adult stem cell therapies.
In severe cases, when the disease has progressed, it may be necessary to amputate fingers or require a transplant of one of the damaged organs (heart, lungs, or kidneys). At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.

Fuentes:

  • rheumatology.org
  • esclerodermia.com
  • medlineplus.gov
  • mayoclinic.org
  • niams.nih.gov
  • medigraphic.com
  • Lugo-Zamudio GE, Sepúlveda-Aldana D, García-Mayen LF, et al. Hipertensión arterial pulmonar asociada a esclerodermia en mestizos mexicanos. Rev Hosp Jua Mex. 2013;80(4):231-234.
  • Romero FA, Chávez DN, Toro AM, et al. Esclerodermia sistémica juvenil en una lactante: reporte de caso. Med Cutan Iber Lat Am. 2020;48(1):69-74. doi:10.35366/93981.
  • Boncompain C, Orive M, Nipoti J, et al. Esclerodermia sistémica: seguimiento de las manifestaciones cutáneas y sistémicas observadas en pacientes del Servicio de Dermatología del Hospital Provincial del Centenario de Rosario, Argentina. Med Cutan Iber Lat Am. 2018;46(2):93-97.
  • Ruiz-Mejía O, Pimentel-Rangel J, Oribio-Gallegos JA, et al. Manejo ortopédico de la esclerodermia lineal localizada en niños: reporte de un caso. Acta Ortop Mex. 2019;33(4):261-264.

						
The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.