What is Systemic Sclerosis?
Systemic Sclerosis or Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease. In an autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks the body by mistaking the healthy tissues as a foreign substance. There are many different types of autoimmune diseases which can affect different systems and parts of the body.
In systemic sclerosis, the texture and appearance of the skin get change. There is an overproduction of the collagen in this disorder. However, the systemic sclerosis is not limited to the skin problems only, but can also affect
- Blood vessels
- Heart problems
- Digestive tract
Generally, SS is found in the people of the age group of 35-50 years, but it can be diagnosed at any age. The severity of the symptoms can vary from person to person and also depends on the affected organs.
SS is also known as Scleroderma, Progressive Systemic Sclerosis, or CREST i.e. Calcinosis, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, Esophageal Dysmotility, Sclerodactyly, Telangiectasia
At the initial stage, the effects of SS would be only in the skin. The skin will get thick, and the areas around the mouth, nose, fingers, and bony areas will get shine.
As the condition gets worse, the movement among the affected parts will get limited. The other symptoms will also arise such as:
- Hair loss
- White lumps under the skin
- Small blood vessels under the skin
- Pain in joints
- Breath shortness
- Diarrhoea and other digestive problems
Collagen protein makes up all over the tissues in the body. In SS, the body begins to overproduce this collage which is then starting to accumulate in the tissues. The reason behind the body’s overproduction of collagen is still unknown.
A rheumatologist has the expertise to diagnose and identify the skin changes because of systemic sclerosis. The rheumatologist can also order some tests like antibody testing, rheumatoid factor, sedimentation rate.
The other diagnosing tests include:
- X-ray of chest
- CT scan of lungs
- Biopsy of skin
The treatment of SS can minimize the symptoms to a great extent and will also slow down the progression of the disease. The rheumatologists have the expertise to treat this autoimmune disease. The treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms.
The treatment will include medications for reducing the inflammation, controlling blood pressure, easy breathing, along with the physical therapies.
Dr. Bhupendra Vaishnav is having a vast experience in treating this autoimmune disease and have always given successful results to the patients.