Scleroderma is a chronic skin manifestation of progressive systemic sclerosis characterized by generalized thickened, edematous skin firmly bound to subcutaneous tissue which causes limited movement.
Systemic sclerosis a connective tissue disease that involves destructive changes in the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs. The course can be mild or it can be fatal. Cardiopulmonary complications from fibrosis are the most common cause of death.
Gastrointestinal problems mainly due to fibrosis affect 50 to 90% of patients.1
Q: Is there a cure for scleroderma?
A: There is no cure for scleroderma. Treatment is aimed at improving symptoms.
- Heartburn (acid reflux) can be treated with antacid drugs.
- Scleroderma kidney disease can be treated with blood pressure medications called “angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors” (ACE inhibitors). These can often effectively control kidney damage if started early and use of these drugs has been a major advance for treating scleroderma.
- Muscle pain and weakness can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs such as prednisone, intravenous immunoglobin (IVIg), and/or immunosuppressive medications. Physical therapy may be useful to maintain joint and skin flexibility.2
What Is Scleroderma In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?
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- Forbes A, Marie I. Gastrointestinal complications: the most frequent internal complications of systemic sclerosis. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2009 Jun;48 Suppl 3:iii36-9. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/ ken485.