What is scleroderma?
More commonly observed in women, scleroderma refers to abnormal growth of connective tissue that affects joints, skin, and internal organs. This disease is degenerative and worsens over time. If it affects only an area, then it’s called localized scleroderma. If it affects the whole body, then it is known as systemic sclerosis.
What causes scleroderma?
As an autoimmune disease, scleroderma symptoms are caused by the body attacking its own healthy tissues. Both genetic and environmental factors play a role in its development.
What are the symptoms of scleroderma?
Symptoms may vary in each person, and may include:
- Calcium bumps on the fingers
- Heart complications, abnormal heart rhythms, and kidney diseases
- Immovable/stiff fingers, wrists, or elbows
- Pale and tingly fingers that numb when exposed to the cold
- Scarring of the esophagus and lungs
- Sores on fingertips and knuckles
- Tight, shiny, darker skin on large areas of the body
How is scleroderma diagnosed?
The diagnosis is based on the changes in the condition and appearance of the skin and internal organs. Also, an antibody test may help show the type of scleroderma. Other conclusive tests include:
- EKG or ECG
How is scleroderma treated?
The treatment will depend on symptoms’ severity, age, and general health condition. It may include:
- NSAIDs or corticosteroids
- Penicillamine for slower the skin thickening
- Treatment of specific symptoms, like heartburn and Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Physical therapy and exercise for muscle strength
At Rheumatology of Central Indiana, we encourage patients to ask questions about these conditions. We have Dr. Tarek Kteleh, a Rheumatologist in Indiana, to answer and address your inquiries about Scleroderma and Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment. As one of the leading providers of health care to patients with arthritis and other related immunological disorders in Indiana, we invite you to come and visit us. We offer Rheumatologist Treatment in Muncie, Indiana.