Scleroderma a.k.a Hard Skin
Scleroderma is a rare type of skin condition. It is a progressive disease which leads to the tightening and hardening of the connective tissues and the skin itself. The connective tissues are the support and the framework of our body. This chronic condition normally starts with several dry patches on the skin surfaces of the face or the hands, gradually getting harder and thicker in time. The patches will then spread to the other areas of the skin. Literally, the meaning of scleroderma is “hard skin”.
There are cases when the affected area of scleroderma reaches up to the internal organs and blood vessels of the body. Scleroderma belongs to a group of arthritic condition which is the connective tissue disorder. In this case of disorder the connective tissues of an individual are under attack by its own antibodies.
The specific cause of scleroderma has not been established yet by health researchers. This connective tissue disorder is more common in adults especially the women compared to men and children. Scleroderma can be caused by heredity but then there are cases when the disease is acquired with no known family history of it. This chronic condition is not by any way cancerous or even contagious, however, it can have a very big negative impact on a person’s self-confident and self esteem. Being
affected by this disease will make it difficult for anyone to accomplish anything that will require too much body movement ability. The elasticity of the skin will also be lost due to scleroderma besides the hardening and the thickening of it. As the skin stretches along the underlying bone it becomes shinier. Other symptoms of this disease may include discoloration and numbness in the nose, ears, toes and fingers that will be often due to cold or emotional distress; sores are experienced over the joints such as the knees, knuckles and elbows; hands and feet becomes puffy especially during the mornings and digestive problems. The problems with the digestive system may range from delayed movement of food or very slow absorption of nutrients that may be due to the irregular muscular activity of the intestines.
Overproduction and too much accumulation of collagen which is a fibrous type of protein that makes up the body’s connective tissues may lead to a possible cause of scleroderma. However, doctors haven’t distinguished yet the stimulant in the abnormality of the body’s collagen production. The immune system of the body is somehow a major player on why this is happening. Due to unknown reasons the antibodies of the immune system is turned against the body that results into the overproduction and inflammation of the collagen; this event affects the skin, tiny blood vessels and every organ possible.Because of the unknown cause, scleroderma has also an unknown cure. There is no known treatment yet on how to put a stop to the overproduction and accumulation of collagen in the body’s tissues. Doctors may recommend patients with scleroderma to take some medications that will treat the symptoms. Recommendation of medication that will help prevent occurrence of complication that may possibly affect various organs. It is also important to see a doctor and establish an early diagnosis to prevent the disease to progress.