Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) is a connective tissue disease that spread, which is characterized by a change in the skin, blood vessels, skeletal muscle, and internal organs.

The disorder is four times more common in women and is rare in children, usually appear at age 30-50 years.

Scleroderma can arise as part of mixed connective tissue disease.

Scleroderma (Systemic Sclerosis)

Scleroderma (Systemic Sclerosis)

Cause Of Scleroderma

The cause is not known.

This disease can cause local and systemic symptoms.

Travel and severity of disease in each patient is different.

Symptoms arise due to excessive accumulation of collagen in the skin and other organs. Also there is damage to the small blood vessels in the skin and organs are affected.
Can be found on the skin ulceration (ulcers / sores), calcification (calcification) and changes in pigmentation (skin color).
Systemic symptoms that arise can be fibrosis and degeneration (deterioration) of the heart, lungs, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract.

Scleroderma is a risk factor for exposure to silica dust and polyvinyl chloride.

Symptoms Of Scleroderma

Symptoms of scleroderma are:

  • Raynaud’s phenomenon (discoloration of the fingers and toes become pale, bluish or reddish, when exposed to heat or cold)
  • Pain, stiffness and swelling of fingers and joints
  • Hand and forearm skin looks shiny and thickened
  • The skin becomes hard
  • Facial skin becomes firmer and a mask
  • Sore at the end of the fingers or toes
  • Esophageal re flux or heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest caused by stomach or digestive disorders)
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Stomach feels bloated after meals
  • Weight loss (damage to the small intestine can affect food absorption (malabsorption) and lead to weight loss)
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • Shortness of breath (scleroderma can cause scarring in the lungs, causing shortness of breath during activity patients).

Other symptoms may be found:

  • Wrist pain
  • wheezing
  • White or black skin is abnormal
  • Joint pain
  • Hair loss
  • Stinging eyes, itchy
  • Some heart problems that can be fatal, namely heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms
  • Severe renal disease (kidney damage is usually the first symptom of increased blood pressure suddenly, high blood pressure is a sign of a lack of good, although usually be controlled with medication).

Diagnosis Of Scleroderma

# Diagnosis: Examination of skin (indicating a thickening, hardening and tightening of the skin)
# Blood
– Increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate
– Rheumatoid factor can be increased
– Usually positive antinuclear antibody test
# Analysis of urine (indicating the presence of protein and red blood cells)
# Chest X-rays may reveal fibrosis
# Pulmonary function tests often show a restrictive lung disease
# A skin biopsy.

Treatment For Scleroderma

There is no drug that can stop the development of scleroderma. But medications can relieve some symptoms and reduce organ damage.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or sometimes cortikoosteroid, helping to reduce  muscle and joint pain and severe weakness.

Penicillamine will slow thickening of the skin and can inhibit organ involvement, but some people can not cope with the side effects of these drugs.

Immunosuppressant drug (immunosuppressant) such as methotrexate, may help some patients.

Heartburn can be relieved by eating smaller portions, taking antacids and anti-histamine drugs that inhibit the production of stomach acid. Sleeping with your head higher often helps.

Surgery can sometimes solve the problem of gastric acid reflux is severe.

Tetracycline or other antibiotics may help prevent intestinal absorption disorders caused by excessive growth of bacteria in the intestine that is damaged.

Nifedipine can relieve the symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon, but also can increase acid reflux.

Anti-high blood pressure, especially angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE inhibitors), useful for treating kidney disease and high blood pressure.

Physical therapy and exercise can help maintain muscle strength, but can not prevent the overall joint fixed flexion position.

Need Consultation?  Please contact us by calling (65) 64762106 or Schedule an Appointment here on our website. Our professional  orthopaedic specialist, Dr. Kevin Yip, has more than 20 years experience. Be assured that you will be receiving professional treatments that suit your needs. Consultations are covered by most insurance. 

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