scleroderma
SCLERODERMA
Scleroderma is a connective tissue disorder characterized by skin thickening and fibrosis. It is rare, autoimmune and chronic.
It has an idiopathic cause and not contagious.
Early microvascular damage, mononuclear cell infiltrates and slowly developing fibrosis are the important features of the tissue lesions.
The leading causes of death are pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Patient Education

  • An exercise program designed by a physiotherapist is most crucial
    • To reduce contractures
    • To minimize joint deformities
    • To keep the blood freely flowing
  • Rest if joints become inflamed
  • Skin care is very important to keep a good supply of blood flowing to the skin
    • Keep the whole body warm to help open the blood vessels of the skin, especially in the hands & feet
    • Avoid strong detergents, or other substances that can irritate the skin
    • Prevent drying of skin
    • Use moisturizers to soften & protect the skin
    • Cosmetic makeup may be used to cover up lesions
  • Avoid high doses of vitamin C (>1000 mg) as it promotes collagen formation
  • Avoid emotional stress as it reduces blood flow
  • Quit smoking
  • Minimize caffeine intake
  • Avoid sympathomimetic decongestant medications (eg pseudoephedrine)
  • Avoid high-dose corticosteroid use (>15 mg of Prednisone daily) if possible
  • Check blood pressure regularly to monitor for possible complications
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