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Scleroderma – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The disease is commonly referred to as Progressive Systemic Sclerosis. The disease slowly forms fibrosis of the skin and on outer thin skin tissues (epithelium) of internal organs such as kidney, lungs, heart and gastrointestinal tract. This chronic autoimmune disease occurs in two forms namely Limited Systemic Sclerosis and Diffuse Systemic Sclerosis.

Limited Systemic Sclerosis is previously called as CREST ( Calcinosis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, Esophageal dysfunction, Sclerodactyly, and Telangiectasias). The diseases mainly attacks face, hands and arms and apart from this nearly half of the patients suffer from Pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Diffuse Systemic Sclerosis is of progressive type and as mentioned earlier this type of scleroderma attacks as kidney, lungs, esophagus, heart and gastrointestinal tract.

Symptoms

  • Raynaud’s disease is the first symptom where the hands are hypersensitive to cold, becomes pale and white and fingers become numb. Initially the fingers look pale, then it gradually turns blue due to reduced blood flow and in final stage it turns red when blood flow returns.
  • Skin turns thick and leathery. Damage in bones also occurs.
  • Difficulty in swallowing and digestion problems.

Causes

The exact causes of Scleroderma is still a question but Doctors say that the disease occurs due to inherited (genetic) abnormalities and other environmental factors.

When patients suffering from Scleroderma where questioned it was found that most of them had been had been working with lead or related industries for a considerable period in their life.

Certain psychological-stress related conditions also lead to Scleroderma. Doctors also say that disease rate has increased due to high stress on Children by Educational Institutions mainly during the age of 7 to 14 when they should be left free.

Treatment

  • Treatment for Scleroderma aims at supplying food with optimum level of nutrients to nourish the skin and preserve skin elasticity thereby preventing ulceration.
  • For improving skin thickness and reducing scarring medications may include cyclophosphamide, penicillamine.
  • For treating Kidney problems calcium channel blockers and vasodilators are used.
  • Calcium channel blockers are also used to treat Raynaud’s disease.
  • Increase Vitamin C intake as it boosts general body immunity.
  • Take Vitamin E as it retards fibrosis and also helps in quick healing. Zinc also has similar benefits and it also prevents scarring.
  • Consume Grape seed extract as it has anti oxidant properties.
  • Also take Lymphatic cleansing herbs.

There is no perfect cure for Scleroderma but by proper medication and food habits the disease can be prevented or its consequences can be reduced.

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