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Scleroderma – causes, symptoms, complications

The disease called scleroderma is a chronic disease of the connective tissue characterized by obliteration of small arteries and capillaries, with fibrosis and degenerative lesions of skin and some organs.

Scleroderma is a rare disease (<1 ‰) whose incidence increases with age (max: 20-40 years) and is more common in women.

As causes and risk factors there are immunological factors (autoantibodies), genetic susceptibility and exposure to toxic factors as: exposure to silica dust, polyvinyl chloride, aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene), toxic oil, drugs (bleomycin, pentazocine).

Scleroderma symptoms

Onset in Scleroderma is uncharacteristic or Raynaud‘s phenomenon.

1. Raynaud’s syndrome (95%)

a) syncopal phase appears at cold by sudden disruption of blood flow. The skin is white, cold, painful;

b) asphyxia-phase, cyanotic bluish skin color;

c) flushing phase – red skin, no pain.

2. Skin manifestations

– The onset: swelling of the fingers and hands (weeks, months, years);

– Induration phase (hard skin, thickened, without elasticity, adherent of deep plan).

Ulceration can occur at fingertips, projections of bones and skin scarring.

Face: in scleroderma are observed as clinical signs: thin lips, wrinkle removal, small mouth, thin nose, perioral wrinkles – fixed facies like a “Byzantine icon”.

3. Bone and joints manifestations in scleroderma: pain, swelling and stiffness in the finger joints (hands, feet) caused by arthritis, reduced joint mobility

4. Muscle manifestations as scleroderma symptoms are rare (myositis and muscle weakness)

5. Digestive symptoms: stomach fullness, dysphagia, heartburn, regurgitation, gastric dilatation with atony, flatulence, malabsorption syndrome (diarrhea, weight loss, anemia), esophagus is like a glass.

6. Pulmonary manifestations of scleroderma may be subtle to severe: exertional dyspnoea, dry cough, aspiration pneumonia, finally: heart lung.

7. Renal manifestations: hypertension, often malignant, renal failure, hematuria, proteinuria.

8. Cardiac events as symptoms of scleroderma are pericarditis, heart failure, heart block, arrhythmias, angina pectoris.

Other symptoms and manifestations of scleroderma include: dry eye and / or mouth and / or trigeminal neuralgia or median nerve neuralgia.

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