Scleroderma is a condition whose primary symptom is hardening of the skin; it can manifest itself in childhood or adulthood and is more common in women between 30 and 50 years of age than in men. This autoimmune disease is suffered by more than 2,000 people globally, and the consequences can be fatal. On many occasions, the hardness extends internally, affecting the functioning of vital organs.
In this FastlyHealarticle, we answer the question “why is my skin so tough?” and explain scleroderma’s causes, consequences, and treatment.
Table of Contents
Challenging skin disease or scleroderma
Scleroderma is a chronic and degenerative disease that mainly affects the skin. It is considered autoimmune because it originates from the immune system. Due to an adverse reaction, the system begins to attack the body, and in its defense, the skin increases its level of collagen.
The causes of this disease are not very well determined. Some specialists associate it with external factors directly affecting the immune system, such as eating habits and excess stress. Others have found triggers in conditions like lupus erythematosus or polymyositis.
The symptoms of scleroderma vary according to type; however, in general, patients experience:
- Thickening and hardening of the skin.
- Decreased mobility in extremities.
- Hair loss.
- Nail and fingertip deformation.
- Changes in skin color.
- Fatigue and reluctance.
Types of scleroderma and their symptoms
Within the complex skin categorization, there are two types that, in turn, have classifications: localized scleroderma and systemic scleroderma.
As the name implies, this type of complex skin disease manifests itself in a localized way. It mainly affects the skin, the tissues under it, muscles, and bones. In appearance, some spots can be whitish or dark.
Only in the case of linear scleroderma, these spots that spread like bands can have internal conditions. Although they do not interfere with the functioning of organs, they do cause damage to adipose tissue, bones, and muscles.
Also called systemic sclerosis, it represents the type of most significant risk to the life of the patient since fibrosis or scarring that occurs in the tissues can also occur in the organs. It directly affects the blood vessels, digestive system, heart, lungs, and respiratory tract.
Among the symptoms of this pathology, Raynaud’s phenomenon stands out, which consists of the depigmentation of the fingers due to cold or stress. Under this phenomenon, the fingers may turn white or blue, leading to the possibility of amputation.
Other symptoms accompanying systemic sclerosis are thickening of the skin, difficulty moving the joints, and sores on the fingers. Due to its effect on the organs, the person may experience gastroesophageal reflux, difficulty breathing and swallowing, pain, fatigue, and tiredness.
The heart and its heart rate can also be compromised. The kidneys can suffer from insufficiency, and there can be generalized dryness in the mouth, eyes, skin, and private parts.
In most cases, the initial symptoms of scleroderma are inflammation and redness of the skin. The thickening gives the skin a smooth appearance, hard to the touch. Faced with a condition of this type, it is necessary to see a doctor.
To achieve the diagnosis of the disease, the patient must undergo a general check-up, which includes blood samples and even studies with X-rays and skin samples. Once the diagnosis is made, the disease is typified, and its status is established.
So far, there is no effective treatment for scleroderma. Patients with this condition are treated with immunosuppressants to slow the progression of the disease. Additionally, they receive medication according to the internal complications they present. For example, it is widespread in the cure for people with scleroderma to use vasodilators and anti-inflammatories, as well as analgesics, antibiotics, and topicals for the skin. Some are given antidepressants or anxiolytics to control stress on a psychological level.
What can I do if I have been diagnosed with severe skin disease?
Each patient can contribute to improving their condition in different ways on their own. The first of them are complying with the treatment indicated by your doctor. Afterwards, the application of creams with lanolin to reduce dryness. Additionally, and to the extent of your possibilities, you can:
- Perform minor exercises without reaching fatigue.
- Maintain regular physiotherapy therapies.
- Control your body temperature and that of the environment.
- Avoid hot or cold shocks.
- Manage stress .
- Practice breathing techniques daily.
- Have medical assistance in cases of seriousness or disability.
At FastlyHeal, we recommend consulting a specialist in cases of doubts regarding this type of disease or others. An accurate and timely diagnosis makes a difference in the quality of life of a patient and the treatment for its improvement.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why do I have tough skin , we recommend that you enter our Skin, Hair and Nails category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.