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Women get Scleroderma more often than men: Causes, risk factors and treatment of this autoimmune disease

This article sheds light on why women get scleroderma more when compared to men. Also, know the causes, risk factors, and treatment of this autoimmune disease.

Written By: Kristina Das @ New Delhi Published on: June 12, 2024 17:12 IST
Image Source : FREEPIK Know the causes, risk factors and treatment of Scleroderma.

Scleroderma is an intricate autoimmune disease wherein one notices the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues. Here, the immune system causes inflammation and injury to the cells in the blood vessels. The cells in the skin and connective tissues react by making too much of the protein collagen, which forms the structure in your skin, connective tissues, and internal organs. The two types of scleroderma are known to impact people.   One is limited cutaneous which impacts the skin on the hands, face, and feet, causing thickened patches that restrict movement. Diffuse cutaneous scleroderma reaches internal organs such as the lungs, heart, and kidneys. 

The cause

When we asked Dr Sandeep Arora, Dermatologist, Apollo Spectra Delhi, Chirag Enclave, about the causes of scleroderma, he said, "There is no evidence available describing the exact cause of this condition.  However, genetics, environmental factors, and an overactive immune system may play a pivotal role in this condition."

The symptoms

The symptoms of scleroderma differ from person to person. One common symptom is the thickening and tightening of the skin, which can affect not only appearance but also mobility. Initiate treatment after visiting the expert and promptly manage this condition.

This is why scleroderma is a common occurrence in women compared to men 

Scleroderma is known to affect women over men owing to certain factors such as hormonal fluctuations, genetic predisposition, and differences in immune responses between the two genders.  Moreover, estrogen's influence on the immune system is known to make women more prone to autoimmune diseases like scleroderma which need immediate attention.  Even environmental exposures, stress levels, and lifestyle choices may raise the risk of this condition in women when compared to men. It is the need of the hour to consult the doctor and seek timely intervention.

The treatment  

Medications are recommended to relieve inflammation. Physiotherapy helps maintain joint mobility and overcome muscle stiffness. Lifestyle changes such as a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and quitting smoking help one to deal with scleroderma. Patients should consult a doctor who will decide on a personalized treatment plan as per the patient’s requirements. Some may also need surgery to deal with skin tightening or internal organ damage caused by the disease. Patients, irrespective of whether man or woman should seek timely treatment to improve their quality of life. 

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