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Scleroderma Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disease that involves the skin and connective tissue. Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body's immune system, which is meant to defend the body against bacteria, viruses, and any other foreign product, malfunctions and produces antibodies against healthy tissue, cells and organs.

There are two types: (1) localized scleroderma and (2)systemic scleroderma. In the localized type, the skin shows one or more patches of sclerosis (thickening and hardening). The systemic type involves the skin and the connective tissue.

Symptoms are as follows: abnormal sensitivity to cold in the extremities (Raynaud's), swelling of the hands and feet, pain and stiffness of the joints, thickening of the skin, joint contractures, digestive system and gastrointestinal tract problems, Sjogren's syndrome (dry mucus membranes), oral, facial and dental problems, kidney, heart and lung involvement; non-specific symptoms such as extreme fatigue, generalized weakness, weight loss and vague aching of muscles, joints and bones.

Systemic forms of scleroderma include progressive systemic sclerosis (PSS), also known as systemic sclerosis (SS), and the CREST syndrome. Systemic scleroderma involves body systems such as the esophagus, intestines, lungs, heart and kidneys.

Diffuse scleroderma is a term which describes systemic sclerosis and skin changes on many parts of the body. Tight, glossy skin may be present on the trunk and upper arms as well as on the face, chest and extremities.

The CREST syndrome is an acronym made up of the first letters of the five most prominent manifestations of this form of scleroderma. They are: calcinosis (accumulation of calcium salts under the skin), Raynaud's phenomenon, esophageal dysfunction, sclerodactyly and telangiectasia. Systemic scleroderma can occur in both men and women, and it typically affects women in their thirties and forties. Each case is different, and the severity of the disease varies among patients.

Conventional treatment involves the use of Prednisone and other corticosteroids. Often patients are unable to tolerate the toxic side effects of these drugs.

The alternative, nutritional medicine approach is to identify hidden allergies by blood test and avoid those allergens (primarily foods). Also enzyme potentiated desensitization holds hope for putting the disease in long term remission.

As with all autoimmune disorders, detoxification and dietary changes are usually helpful. For best results this should be done under the supervision of a doctor experienced in nutritional medicine.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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