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Dermatologists urge early diagnosis for scleroderma

By Oluwaseyi Adeshina

Experts have restated that early diagnosis is key to management of scleroderma (skin hardening), an autoimmune condition of the connective tissue.

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s tissues are attacked by its own immune system.

The experts who gathered at an event organized by the Dermatology Clinic, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Yaba Annexe, to mark this year’s World Scleroderma Day, with the theme “Scleroderma Will Not Take My Smile” said early detection and treatment can stop progression of the disease.

A Consultant Rheumatologist, Prof Femi Adblowo, said such disease can lead to much destruction in the body, he identified the skin as a prominent part attacked by scleroderma which can reduce the quality of life of an individual. “When it attacks the skin, it will form scar tissue or fibrous and thickening. It can also affect blood vessels, internal organs such as the lungs, the heart and the kidney including the joints.”

According to him, the treatment is basically on the management of the complications by using lots of drug because there is no drug that can cure it and also no prevention because most people have it, it can interface between something in the environment such as virus and also their predisposition to the gene.

In her submission, a Consultant Dermatologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Otrofanowe Erere said the problem with Scleroderma is lack of knowledge.

She said strange developments in the body, should be reported instead of using herbal concoctions. “Whenever the skin is changing colour, or tightening, it will be better for us to go and see a specialist. Scleroderma has no cure, no prevention but  can be controlled.  One of the major reasons you need to see a specialist is because they know the tests to run.”

She disclosed that the health condition affects women most, adding that the disease causes joint pain and as a result of the pain, women suffer dryness on their private part, which makes sexual intercourse difficult without lubricant.

For the men, it can start from 20 and 40 years while women from childhood.



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