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Systemic Sclerosis

At King’s, our physicians have decades of experience in treating Systemic Sclerosis and are highly skilled in managing patients with this condition.

Overview: What is systemic sclerosis?

Systemic sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs due to the destruction of the healthy tissues by the immune cells when the immune system thinks of them as foreign substances or invaders.

Systemic sclerosis is characterized by abnormal changes in the appearance and texture of the skin caused due to the increased production of collagen.

Why does systemic sclerosis occur?

Systemic sclerosis occurs when the immune system fails to identify the healthy tissues in the body and attacks them resulting in their destruction. It also causes an overproduction of collagen that accumulates in the tissues.

What are the symptoms of systemic sclerosis?

  • Hair loss
  • Deposits of calcium under the skin
  • Dilation of the blood vessels under the surface of the skin
  • Joint pains
  • A dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Esophageal reflux

What are the risk factors for systemic sclerosis?

The factors that can increase the risk of developing systemic sclerosis include:

  • Female gender
  • Being African-American
  • Being Native American
  • Use of chemotherapy drugs like Bleomycin
  • Exposure to organic solvents and silica dust

Treatment of systemic sclerosis

Currently, there is no cure for systemic sclerosis. However, it is possible to relieve the symptoms and slow down the progress of this disease by using medications and therapies as given below:

  • Corticosteroids like prednisolone to reduce inflammation
  • Immunosuppressants like methotrexate to suppress the response of the immune cells
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain
  • Medications to control blood pressure
  • Medication to relieve breathing difficulties
  • Light therapy
  • Physical therapy

Making healthy lifestyle changes such as remaining physically active, avoiding smoking, and reducing the intake of fatty foods can also help to slow down the progress of systemic sclerosis.

Results

Regular treatment and following a healthy lifestyle can relieve the symptoms of systemic sclerosis and allow patients to live a healthy and active life.

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