Suppose you are in the age group between 30 and 65 years old and suffer from fatigue, generalized itching, hardening, and changes in the pigmentation of the skin. The most prudent thing is to consult your doctor. In that case, it may be Reynolds syndrome, a rare disease that attacks the skin and liver. If, in addition, it belongs to the female sex, it is even more likely to suffer from it, as this syndrome has a higher incidence in women.
Although Reynolds syndrome has no cure, there are currently some treatments to improve patients’ quality of life and slow down the processes of the diseases that comprise it, as long as a timely diagnosis is achieved and the administration of necessary medications quickly. In this FastlyHealarticle, we inform you about what Reynolds Syndrome is and how it is treated.
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What is Reynolds syndrome?
Reynolds syndrome is a condition in which primary biliary cirrhosis and the accumulation of scar tissue appear simultaneously on the skin, better known as scleroderma. It was described in 1971 by Dr. Telfer B. Reynolds. It is an autoimmune disorder that affects one in every 2000 people. For this reason, it is considered a rare disease.
The first symptoms of this condition appear between 30 and 65, with women being the most affected population. Apart from attacking the liver and the skin, some people may have the failure of the esophagus, formation of calcium deposits under the skin, dilation of small blood vessels on the surface of the face (known as spider veins), and the appearance of another rare condition, such as Raynaud’s disease (a disorder of the blood vessels that affects the coloration of the fingers and toes). It is also associated with autoimmune diseases like hemolytic anemia and Sjögren’s syndrome. The latter involves the glands that produce tears and saliva.
Regarding the symptoms of Reynolds syndrome, it has been determined that between 80 and 99% of patients report the following ailments:
- Gastric mucosa abnormalities.
- Acid reflux
- Pruritus is caused by cholestasis (a liver disease in which bile flow is obstructed).
- Hyperpigmentation of the skin.
- Regrowth of the liver.
- Muscle pains.
Likewise, in 44% of the cases, inflammatory arthropathies were detected in patients with inflammation in the joints.
How Reynolds Syndrome Is Diagnosed
Making an accurate diagnosis of this pathology can be a challenge. The doctor must thoroughly investigate the patient’s medical history and contrast each symptom with physical examinations. Likewise, genetic tests should be carried out since it has been verified that a change in the LBR gene can predispose to the disease.
Laboratory controls are also necessary to study the levels of certain enzymes in the blood plasma, which show cholestasis, a product of the deterioration of the bile ducts, and the discard of antimitochondrial antibodies, which are markers of an autoimmune disease.
In addition, diagnostic tests with images such as ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and x-rays of the bile ducts should be performed. A poor prognosis of the disease is given by a high concentration in the blood of bilirubin, which is the yellow pigment produced by red blood cells in poor condition.
Reynolds syndrome: treatment
Unfortunately, Reynolds syndrome has no cure. Treatment is focused on mitigating clinical symptoms and curbing primary biliary cirrhosis. One of the methods used has been administering ursodeoxycholic acid or ursodiol, which has been relatively successful, especially in patients diagnosed early. Currently, the use of this acid is being re-evaluated since its effectiveness has not been as expected in reducing itching, liver transplants, fatigue, and other important aspects to improve patients’ quality of life.
When the liver fails, another method used to prolong the patient’s life is the transplant of the same. The survival rate with this method is high, although primary biliary cirrhosis can recur in the transplanted liver. With this surgery, between 80 and 85% of patients live an average of 5 years longer.
Other treatments used tend to reduce the most frequent symptoms to give the relative patient comfort. Among the most used is modafinil for fatigue and antihistamines, cholestyramine, and rifampin to relieve itching.
Likewise, for the treatment of scleroderma, a combination of drugs are used, which, although they are not explicitly designed for this ailment, have been shown to improve the symptoms of the disease, such as drugs that dilate blood vessels, drugs that they suppress the immune system, omeprazole that reduces acid reflux, those that prevent infections, such as antibiotic creams and pain relievers.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.
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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.