Sys­te­mic S­cl­e­ro­sis

George Herald - - MEDICAL SERVICES -

Sys­te­mic s­cl­e­ro­sis (SS) / S­cle­ro­der­ma is an au­toim­mu­ne dis­or­der. This me­ans it's a con­di­ti­on in which the im­mu­ne sy­stem at­tacks the bo­dy. He­althy tis­sue is de­stroy­ed be­cau­se the im­mu­ne sy­stem mis­ta­ken­ly thinks it's a fo­reign sub­stan­ce or in­fecti­on.

SS is cha­rac­te­ri­sed by chan­ges in the tex­tu­re and ap­pea­ran­ce of the skin, which is due to in­cre­a­sed col­la­gen pro­ducti­on. Col­la­gen is a com­po­nent of con­necti­ve tis­sue.

The dis­or­der isn't con­fi­ned to skin chan­ges, ho­we­ver. It can af­fect your b­lood ves­sels, muscles, he­a­ring, di­ge­s­ti­ve sy­stem, lungs and kid­neys.

Fe­a­tu­res of sys­te­mic s­cl­e­ro­sis can ap­pear in ot­her au­toim­mu­ne dis­or­ders. W­hen this occurs, it's cal­led a mixed con­necti­ve dis­or­der.

The di­se­a­se is ty­pi­cal­ly seen in wo­men 30 to 50 y­e­ars old, but men may al­so be af­fected.

SS may on­ly af­fect the skin in the e­ar­ly sta­ges of the di­se­a­se. You may no­ti­ce your skin thic­ke­ning and shiny a­re­as de­ve­lo­ping a­round your mouth, no­se, fin­gers, and ot­her bo­ny a­re­as.

As the con­di­ti­on pro­gres­ses, you may be­gin to ha­ve li­mi­ted mo­vement of the af­fected a­re­as.

Ot­her symp­toms in­clu­de:

hair loss cal­ci­um de­po­sits, or whi­te lumps un­der the skin

small, di­la­ted b­lood ves­sels un­der the skin's sur­fa­ce joint pain short­ness of bre­ath a dry cough di­ar­rhoea con­sti­pa­ti­on dif­fi­cul­ty swal­lo­wing oes­op­ha­ge­al re­flux ab­do­mi­nal blo­a­ting af­ter me­als.

You may be­gin to ex­pe­rien­ce spas­ms of the b­lood ves­sels in your fin­gers and toes. Then, your ex­tre­mi­ties may turn whi­te and blue w­hen you're in the cold or fee­ling ex­tre­me e­mo­ti­o­nal stress. This is cal­led Raynaud's phe­no­me­non.

T­he­re's no kno­wn way to pre­vent SS ot­her than to re­du­ce risk fac­tors you can con­t­rol. High b­lood pres­su­re may be cau­sed by kid­ney chan­ges from s­cl­e­ro­sis. Your doc­tor may or­der b­lood tes­ts li­ke an­ti­bo­dy tes­ting, rheu­ma­toid fac­tor, and se­di­men­ta­ti­on ra­te.

Tre­at­ment can't cu­re the con­di­ti­on, but it can help re­du­ce symp­toms and slow di­se­a­se pro­gres­si­on. Tre­at­ment is ty­pi­cal­ly ba­sed on a per­son's symp­toms and the need to pre­vent com­pli­ca­ti­ons. - Sour­ce: He­alth­li­ne

This ar­ti­cle is for in­for­ma­ti­ve pur­po­ses on­ly. Ple­a­se see your doc­tor if you ex­pe­rien­ce any symp­toms. Que­s­ti­ons can be for­war­ded to que­s­ti­ons@wal­kin­doc­tor.co.za. Walk in Doc­tor / Walk in Den­tist 0861 943 943

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