A rare group of diseases that involve tightening and hardening of connective tissues and skin is called Scleroderma. It mostly affects women, but it can also affect men. Scleroderma occurs between the ages of 30 and 50. There is still no cure for this disease, but there are many treatments that are designed to give you good quality life and ease the symptoms you are experiencing.
Keep in mind that there are different types of scleroderma, and in some people only skin might be affected, while in other cases scleroderma could harm structures beyond your skin. Whatever the case might be, you should visit the best rheumatologist in Brisbane from arthritisCARE or search for a local doctor instead.
The patches on the skin will appear shiny because of the tightness and could restrict movement
What are the symptoms?
- Skin – usually, anyone who suffers from scleroderma will experience the hardening and tightening of their skin. It appears in patches, and those patches will often be shaped as straight lines or ovals, and they cover wide areas of the limbs and trunk. The size, number and location of the patches will depend on the type of scleroderma that you have.
- Toes or fingers – Raynaud’s disease is one of the earliest signs of systemic scleroderma. This disease causes the small vessels in our toes and fingers to contract as a response in emotional distress or cold temperatures. If this happens, your toes and fingers could turn blue, feel numb or painful. Raynaud’s disease can occur in patients who do not suffer from scleroderma.
- The digestive system – scleroderma is known to cause a lot of digestive problems, depending on what part of your digestive tract is affected. For example, if the intestines are being affected, you can experience, bloating, constipation, cramps or diarrhea, while if the esophagus is affected, you could have difficulty swallowing or have heartburn.
- Lungs, heart, kidneys – scleroderma is known to affect the function of the lungs, kidneys, and heart, to varying degrees. If these symptoms go untreated, they could cause life-threatening problems.
What is the cause of scleroderma?
Scleroderma is caused as the result from accumulation and overproduction of collagen in the body tissues. Collagen makes up our body’s connective tissues, including the skin, and it is a fibrous type of protein.
The actual cause of the overproduction of collagen is unknown, but it seems like our body’s immune system has something to do with it. If you would like to know more, you can visit a scleroderma specialist in Brisbane at arthritisCARE or you can simply talk to your local doctor.
Scleroderma often affects fingers and toes
Most likely, what causes scleroderma is a combination of factors, such as problems with immune system, environmental triggers and genetics. There are also some risks factors and complications that could occur, but that is something your doctor will talk to you about. This cannot be cured, but the condition can be managed.