Dermatology Articles

The Immune System Versus The Skin

Autoimmune disorders occur when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue; in this occurrence, the skin is the most commonly affected organ. Skin-based autoimmune disorders carry a wide array of symptoms which often negatively affect an affect person’s quality of life. Various treatments are available to the public in an effort to minimize the frequency, harshness, and span of the symptoms.
Common skin-based autoimmune ailments include: psoriasis, scleroderma, and dermatomyositis. The following information aims to provide a brief overview of these diseases; for more information detailing the symptoms, causes, and treatments of these afflictions, please visit a qualified dermatologist.

Psoriasis

As a chronic autoimmune disorder, Psoriasis periodically cycles between stretches of remission and flare-ups. Breakouts can vary in several factors including severity, duration, and even trigger factors such as damage to the skin, infections within the body, stress, excessive sun exposure, medications, and alcohol. HIV, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and others with compromised immune systems are likely to experience psoriasis symptoms with more severity.

The visible elements of psoriasis, such as silvery scales, red patches of skin, and discolored nails, often lead to mental distress in patients. Although no cure for psoriasis is currently known, dermatologists can effectively provide relief from the pain and reduce the frequency of the outbreaks.

Scleroderma

Scleroderma affects the skin in a widespread fashion; it is known to affect the muscles, organs, and blood vessels. This autoimmune disease often reveals itself as localized patches of thickened skin.

There is currently no known cure for scleroderma but symptoms can be reduced exponentially. The overproduction of collagen is impossible to prevent, however, there are drugs available that diminish the complications and symptoms of the autoimmune disease.

These drugs can dilate the blood vessels, suppress the immune system, prevent various infections, and drastically relieve pain. These are often prescription drugs and therefore it is best to talk to a qualified dermatologist concerning the treatment of scleroderma.

Skin Damage

Although Dermatomyositis primarily affects the patient’s muscles, it can also damage the skin. Common symptoms include muscle weakness, soreness, stiffness, difficulty swallowing, and shortness of breath; not to mention its distinctive skin rash.

Like the previous skin conditions, there is no known cure for dermatomyositis. There are however, various treatments to improve muscle strength along with skin tone. Treatments include corticosteroids, antimalarial medications, and rituximab; additional treatments include physical therapy, speech therapy, intravenous immunoglobulin, and surgery.

If you believe you are suspect to any of these autoimmune diseases, be sure to consult a qualified dermatologist. Early diagnosis of the disease can vastly increase your chances for a safe and speedy recovery.

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