Systemic Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease also known as scleroderma. It is a chronic disease that turns the body’s immune system against the skin and organs. Women are four times more likely to develop Systemic Sclerosis than men. The disease is rare in children. There is no clear cause for Systemic Sclerosis; the hereditary link is very small, though exposure to certain organic solvents and chemical compounds, such as those exposed to during chemotherapy, have been linked to it.
Symptoms of Systemic Sclerosis
The most common symptom of Systemic Sclerosis is tight, shiny, dark skin. Facial skin may tighten enough to limit facial expression. Spider veins may form on the tongue, face, chest, and fingers. Calcium bumps have been known to form on joints and other bony areas of skin. One may see a swelling and thickening of the fingers accompanied with a tingling or numb feeling in the fingers as well as a change in skin color. Systemic Sclerosis has been known to cause scar tissue to develop in the lower esophagus as the disease progresses and this can lead to heartburn and difficulty swallowing. Damage to the intestinal lining may occur causing problems with digestion and leading to weight loss as a result. If the infection reaches the lungs, one may experience a shortness of breath during exertion. Systemic Sclerosis can also affect the kidneys which can lead to malignant hypertension and, in sever and untreated cases, can lead to renal failure.
Find out about treatment options for Systemic Sclerosis, call us toll-free at (800) 923-7878 to speak with a Patient Care Representative.