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Systemic Sclerosis | Peer Reviewed Journals
Rheumatology: Current Research

Rheumatology: Current Research
Open Access

ISSN: 2161-1149 (Printed)

Systemic Sclerosis

Systemic scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is an autoimmune rheumatic disease characterised by excessive production and accumulation of collagen, called fibrosis, in the skin and internal organs and by injuries to small arteries. There are two major subgroups of systemic sclerosis based on the extent of skin involvement: limited and diffuse. The limited form affects areas below, but not above, the elbows and knees with or without involvement of the face. The diffuse form affects also the skin above the elbows and knees and can spread also to the torso. Visceral organs, including the kidneys, heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract can also be affected by the fibrotic process. Prognosis is determined by the form of the disease and the extent of visceral involvement. Patients with limited systemic sclerosis have a better prognosis than those with the diffuse form. Death is most often caused by lung, heart, and kidney involvement. There is also a slight increase in the risk of cancer.

Survival rates have greatly increased with effective treatment for kidney failure. Therapies include immunosuppressive drugs and, in some cases, glucocorticoids.

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Relevant Topics in Immunology & Microbiology