Scleroderma: Caring for another Autoimmune Disease

Posted by Chelsea Shaffer on 6/15/2018 to Around the House
Scleroderma: Caring for another Autoimmune Disease
Another day, another disease that’s gone under the radar for far too long. There are countless autoimmune diseases, most of us know about them but then there are the few diseases that have been silent for so long that most of us remain uneducated. Scleroderma is one of these autoimmune diseases that hasn’t received proper recognition because of its rarity in cases over the years. It’s time we shed some light on it.


What is Scleroderma?
Scleroderma is a rheumatic autoimmune disease that hardens the skin and is especially rare in men, most reported cases often found in women. There are less than 200,000 cases of this per year; which still seems like a lot until you take into account just how many people live on this earth. Comparatively, this makes Scleroderma a very rare disease that can affect more than one part of your body. It is most commonly known to damage, tighten, and harden the skin but it can also lead to extreme sensitivity to the cold, ulcers, stiff joints, lung failure, and kidney failure. It’s a chronic condition that can last a lifetime, even with treatments and surgery this disease is stubborn.


Can it be treated?
While the skin conditions of Scleroderma can lessen and even go away in time, the effects it has on your internal organs lasts forever. However, there are medications to help soothe the pain and discomfort that this autoimmune disease brings. Medications such as blood pressure regulators aid in helping lung and kidney issues from progressing further. To reduce symptoms further, Immunosuppressants can help by doing exactly as it sounds -- suppressing the immune system. Normally these are given after organ transplants or surgeries but it can be used to relieve Scleroderma. Infections, colds, and flus can also worsen this condition so be sure to take antibiotics regularly as prescribed and to keep up on healthy routines.


Living with Scleroderma
While it certainly isn’t glamorous, living with this disease can be done and all it takes are a few simple changes in routine. As they say for almost any illness, exercising can help, especially if it’s joint pain that you’re experiencing. If you’re finding it hard to keep all of your medications in order, try using a pill organizer to make things less stressful and scary to look at. Other therapies such as regularly eating healthier can aid in managing heartburn or kidney failure. If you or a loved one is suffering, don’t be afraid to reach out for support, autoimmune diseases are rarely ever treatable and there are thousands of people out there looking for answers. If you aren’t sure if you have Scleroderma, contact your doctor as soon as possible. No one should suffer alone.


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