Scleroderma : A well-known autoimmune disease
Studies conducted on Scleroderma have shown it to be an autoimmune disease. It has an impact on the connective tissue featuring skin thickening, blood vessel disease, spontaneous scarring and different degrees of inflammation. This disease is associated with an overly active immune system. It should be known that autoimmune diseases are physical illnesses which can develop when the tissue of the body comes under the attack of the body’s immune system
. This results in the formation of scar tissue also known as fibrosis which will be visible in the skin and in the organs of the body. The results are firmness and thickness of the areas involved. When a situation is encountered were Scleroderma is spread out over the body it is often referred to as systemic sclerosis. Although it has not yet been discovered what is causing scleroderma there are some indications that certain genes can be playing an important role. However, it has also been discovered that the environment can likewise play a role when it comes to scleroderma.
The involvement of the immune system
Influences by genes or the environment can result in activation of a person’s immune system especially if they are susceptible. The results can be a severe injury to tissues and this will look the same as scar tissue formation. Because of the evidence which seems to indicate that genes are playing a part in the development of scleroderma the conclusion must be that inheritance is a contributing factor. It has been seen repeatedly that there are other autoimmune diseases present in the families of scleroderma patients. Several studies have been conducted which provide evidence for the substantial role which is played by genes when it comes to the development of scleroderma. Scleroderma is more prevalent among female patients. This is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease which is mostly affecting the skin.
One of the characteristics of this disease is fibrosis which is a hardening of the skin. Other symptoms are autoantibodies and vascular alterations. There are two primary forms of Scleroderma. The first is known as Limited systemic sclerosis/scleroderma. This is involving cutaneous manifestations which are primarily affecting the hands, face, and arms of a person. This condition was previously referred to as CREST syndrome because of the following observed complications.
These were Sclerodactyly, Calcinosis, Telangiectasias, Reynaud’s phenomenon, and Esophageal dysfunction. There was also the additional complication of pulmonary arterial hypertension which was encountered in approximately 30% of patients and this is also the most serious complication among people suffering from scleroderma.
Other forms of scleroderma
There is also Diffuse systemic sclerosis/scleroderma which is a quickly progressing condition which has the ability to impact extensive areas of the skin as well as one or more internal organs. This can include the lungs, esophagus, kidneys, and heart. This is one of the most disabling forms of scleroderma. No treatment has yet been discovered for scleroderma. However, there are many of the affected organ systems and complications which can be treated.
There are also other forms of scleroderma such as systemic scleroderma which does not result in skin changes but it has other systemic manifestations. There are also two localized forms which are known to impact the skin but not the internal organs. These are known as linear scleroderma and morphea. The exact origins and causes are unknown but it has been discovered that Scleroderma runs in families. Even so specific genes have not yet been identified. It is however known that the disease will impact small blood vessels also known as arterioles which are present in all organs. It is frequently observed how the endothelial cells of the arteriole will die. This is followed by smooth muscle cells. This process is known as apoptosis.
These systems are then replaced by collagen and other fibrous materials. The next step in the process is where Inflammatory cells such as CD4+ helper T cells will proceed to infiltrate the arteriole resulting in extensive damage. A lot of knowledge is already available about the destructive and inflammatory protein signals. These are potential targets for pharmaceutical products which could be used to interrupt this degenerative process.
There are some positives
Things are looking somewhat better for those individuals with limited scleroderma also known as morphea. In the event of an untimely death, this will most often not be caused by scleroderma but most likely by some other disease. Unfortunately, those with widespread scleroderma is burdened with a very negative prognosis. Statistics show that significantly more women than men are suffering from scleroderma. Even so, more men perish because of this disease than women.
As soon as a diagnosis has been made approximately 60% of patients will have a life expectancy of approximately 10 or 11 years. This expectancy will be significantly lower among older patients. In the event that people are having a mild or limited diffuse disease, it is very likely that they can live for as long as 20-50 years after a diagnosis with scleroderma. However, there might also be those with rapidly progressive scleroderma. This will involve less than 10% of the total number of patients suffering from diffuse scleroderma. This person might have a 50% chance of surviving for a period of five years.
Treatment of scleroderma
There is no scientifically proven treatment for scleroderma. In most cases, a medical practitioner will prescribe a range of medications as well as other treatments which may be able to control current symptoms and to prevent possible complications. Pharmaceutical products for the treatment of scleroderma include things such as NSAIDs or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They can also use Immune-suppressing medications such as Cytoxan and methotrexate.
They will also require powerful corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory medicines. This is exactly where CBD products might come in handy because of their anti-inflammatory properties. Scleroderma might also benefit from medicines which are effective in the event of heartburn and also those which may help treat swallowing problems. They may also require pharmaceutical products which can aid breathing. They will also require medications for the treatment of Reynaud’s phenomenon. Other helpful medications are those which can help with blood pressure problems.
In this regard, ACE inhibitors are advisable to help with kidney problems and also high blood pressure. Therapy might also be needed to reduce skin thickening.
What can Medical Marijuana do?
It is well-known that it can help to improve appetite. It will also help a patient to sleep better. It has an anti-fibroid effect and can also help to improve the mood of a patient. Medical marijuana can help to protect the immune system. It also has excellent Anti-immune suppressive properties. It has long been known for its superb anti-inflammatory effects as well as analgesic effects.
Cannabinoids are frequently used as an anti-itch medication. Furthermore, it is known to significantly lower blood pressure. Patients will experience relief from a hardened esophagus. Medical marijuana will also help with things such as gastrointestinal problems and diarrhea. It will also help to relieve painful joints.