Crest Syndrome (Limited Scleroderma) and role of Homeopathic treatment
Limited scleroderma, or CREST syndrome, is a condition affecting your connective tissue. Raynaud's phenomenon, esophageal involvement, sclerodactyly (deformity of the bones of the fingers) and Telangiectasia are the features of Crest syndrome.
Limited scleroderma usually affects your skin and blood vessels; it can also affect your digestive tract and can cause serious heart and lung disorders.
- Connective tissue, which is found in your skin, bones, ligaments and tendons, is made up of two major proteins collagen and elastin. It's the main component of ligaments and tendons. It also helps to make your skin elastic. In people suffering from limited scleroderma, the immune system appears to stimulate cells called fibroblasts to produce excess amounts of collagen.
- Normally, fibroblasts synthesize collagen to help heal wounds, but in this case, the protein is produced even when it's not needed, forming thick bands of connective tissue around the cells of your skin, blood vessels and in some cases, your internal organs.
- Other factors may also be responsible, although an abnormal immune system response and the resulting production of excess collagen appears to be the main cause of limited scleroderma.
Genes: Genetic defects may make people more susceptible to scleroderma. The fact that genes seem to cause a predisposition to developing scleroderma means that inheritance at least plays a partial role. It is possible to find other autoimmune diseases in families of scleroderma patients
Pregnancy: Women who have been pregnant may be more prone to limited scleroderma because of cells they receive from their fetuses. These cells, which pass from a baby to its mother through the placenta, can linger in the mother's body for years after a child's birth
Environmental factors: Exposure to viral infections and some environmental toxins may trigger scleroderma in people who are genetically predisposed to develop the disease
Women are far more likely to develop limited scleroderma than men are, especially during their child bearing years
Signs and Symptoms:
- Skin tightening and thickening is the hallmark symptom
- Calcinosis (calcium deposits), usually in the fingers
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Swollen fingers and toes. Hands may turn white when exposed to cold. Blood vessels that can be affected include the tiny arterioles of the finger tips, toes, and elsewhere
- These vessels can have a tendency to spasm when the areas are exposed to cold, leading to blueness, whiteness, and redness of involved fingers, toes. This is referred as Raynaud's phenomenon.
- Small, round, red lesions called telangiectasias
- Sclerodactyly, a tapering deformity of bones and fingers
- Difficulty swallowing. Scleroderma affecting the esophagus leads to heartburn
- Shortness of breath
- Severe pulmonary hypertension can be a complication in some patients
- Severe Raynaud's phenomenon can obstruct blood flow to your extremities and may cause ulcers of the fingers and toes
- Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and in rare cases myocarditis (inflamed heart muscle)
A complete general physical examination is performed looking especially for changes in the texture, color and appearance of your skin. Sometimes doctors take a small sample of skin (biopsy) that's then examined under a microscope in a laboratory
Blood test: A particular antibody, the anticentromere antibody, is found almost exclusively in the limited, or CREST, form of scleroderma. Anti-Scl 70 antibody (antitopoisomerase I antibody) is most often seen in patients with the diffuse form of scleroderma
Tips to cope up with the disease
- Regular exercise helps control your weight; reduces the risk of serious diseases including heart attack, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. It can improve circulation in your hands and feet and reduce stress which is essential in managing Raynaud's phenomenon
- Try to quit smoking: Nicotine constricts your blood vessels, making Raynaud's phenomenon worse. Smoking can cause permanent narrowing of your blood vessels over time and also it causes damage to the lungs
- Protect yourself from cold: First, protect your hands and feet from cold temperatures. Wear gloves or mittens outdoors when the weather is cool and indoors when you reach into the freezer or while working in cold water
- In cold weather, dress in warm clothing, thermal socks, and well-fitting boots or shoes that don't cut off your circulation.
Have small, frequent meals. Avoid spicy or fatty foods, caffeine and alcohol. If you have difficulty swallowing, choose soft, moist foods and chew them well
- Find ways to manage stress by Yoga and meditation
- Practice good oral hygiene
- Avoid harsh soaps and detergents: Take short baths and showers, using warm rather than hot water. Use gentle skin cleansers and bath or shower gels with added moisturizers. Apply a rich oil-based moisturizer immediately after washing your hands or bathing, while your skin is still damp
- It's important to moisturize your house by using a humidifier to increase moisture levels in your home
It includes giving the Constitutional homeopathic remedy which will help in improving the resistance of the person. There are also acute Homeopathic remedies which are prescribed depending upon the symptom totality which helps in relieving the acute symptoms.
The constitutional remedy is reached after taking detailed case-history of the patient which includes -physical, social, emotional, psychological aspects of the patients' life.
This medicine acts at connective tissue and reduces the cell trigger stimulated by the immunity thereby arresting the further progress of the disease.
Thus, there is marked reduction in the symptoms of the patient-the pain and stiffness of the joints, fatigue and prevents the Raynaud's phenomena as well as severe complications like pulmonary hypertension and arrhythmias.
Homeopathy acts safely gently and without causing any side-effects on the body giving long lasting results.
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