Scleroderma

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder whose hallmark is increased collagen deposition and hardening of the skin.

While research continues to evolve our understanding of this disease, the main feature is abnormal function of fibroblast cells leading to the increased collagen deposition.

The increased deposition can lead to changes in the skin, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and other areas.  This family of diseases often shares clinical features with inflammatory muscle diseases, mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD), rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome.  Many different organ systems can become involved including the pulmonary and cardiac systems.

The classically described forms are diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis (common referred to as “scleroderma”), and limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis (commonly referred to as CREST syndrome- Calcinosis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, Esophageal dysmotility, Sclerodactyly, and Telangiectasias).  Diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis tends to involve more proximal skin changes, and can be associated with interstitial lung disease.  Limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis generally shows more distal skin changes, can involve the problems listed in the letters “CREST”, and can be associated with primary pulmonary hypertension.

Scleroderma related disorders can be quite severe.  However, with appropriate recognition and diagnosis, many of the problems can be anticipated and/or managed.  There are newer approaches to treat the most severe forms of disease including interstitial lung disease and primary pulmonary hypertension.  These problems are often co-managed with pulmonary physicians and cardiologists.

Apr 19, 2017

Live Well: Helpful Tips for Healthy Joints

healthy-joints-tips-for-arthritis-patients

  Spring is officially upon us here in Wilmington, NC. Unfortunately for joint pain sufferers, this time of year isn’t always enjoyable because of constant pain and discomfort. Long walks on the beach or wandering around the Farmers Market may not be feasible for someone dealing with joint pain. Our joints endure a lot stress […]

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Mar 15, 2017

Defining the Relationship Between Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis

defining-the-relationship-rheumatoid-arthritis-vs-osteoporosis

  Our physicians at Carolina Arthritis Associates come across this frequent question quite often: “Do I have osteoarthritis or osteoporosis?” Although osteoporosis and osteoarthritis sound similar, these two bone conditions are actually quite different. In this post, we’ll explain the key differences between this “osteo” mix-up. Let’s Break It Down The term “osteo” means bone, […]

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Mar 8, 2017

Ease Arthritis Pain through Meditation

importance-of-self-health-living-tips

Amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is so important (and often ignored) to take a moment to ourselves where we can stop, breathe, gather our thoughts, focus, and just be still. It seems that as our schedules get busier and our stresses grow stronger, we forget the importance of taking time to take […]

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