Causes of Scleroderma
Scleroderma occurs when your body over produces and over-accumulates collagen. Collagen is a protein that is essential for building the body’s connective tissue. Healthy collagen productions leads to smooth, flexible skin.
We are still learning what triggers abnormal collagen production in some people. However, it appears that the immune system plays a vital part. The immune system attacks the body, leading to inflammation and excessive collagen production.
This condition produces severe complications that can lead to a person developing gangrene in their toes and fingers, producing scarring in their lungs, kidneys and heart, developing tooth decay, developing digestive problems, and experiencing sexual dysfunction. Since the potential complications of Scleroderma are so severe, we recommend contacting our clinic if you are experiencing these symptoms.
Symptoms of Scleroderma
Symptoms of Scleroderma vary depending on which part of the body it affects.
For example, when the disorder affects the skin, you will have hard, tight patches of skin on your body. Patches may be shaped like straight lines or ovals. The number of spots that you have and the location of the patches will vary depending on the type of the disorder that you have. Your skin may take on a shiny appearance because it is so tight. Movement in the affected area is drastically limited.
This condition can also affect your fingers and toes. It can cause hypersensitivity to cold temperatures or emotional distress. Your toes and fingers become numb, feel pain and begin to change colors. These symptoms of Scleroderma have been referred to as Raynaud’s phenomenon, and the symptoms can also be present in people who do not have Scleroderma.
When Scleroderma affects your digestive system, it can cause you to develop acid reflex which damages the esophagus near the stomach. Many people with this condition have difficulty absorbing nutrients because their intestinal muscles are not working properly.
The rare instances where the condition affects a person’s heart, kidneys or lungs can be life-threatening.
Risk Factors for Scleroderma
Scleroderma can affect both men and women. However, it more readily affects women between the ages of 30 and 50.
It has no cure, but our doctors can provide treatments that will minimize the symptoms and allow you to enjoy a high quality life.
Treatment for Scleroderma
At Arthritis & Osteporosis Center Brazos Valley, we offer our patients suffering from Scleroderma biologics treatments. These can specifically target the areas of the immune system that are malfunctioning, and stop them from attacking the body.
Contact us today with the link below to schedule an appointment and begin working towards a customized treatment plan!