Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by having the antibodies attack their own tissues, which is contrary to their main purpose of protecting it. That in turn would cause the affected area to thicken and its functions to be limited. The more common form of scleroderma which is limited scleroderma or CREST would tend not to be fatal, although it can cripple a patient. The severe from of it which it systemic scleroderma is the more fatal type.
Scleroderma is quite rare as it only affects 14 out of every 1 million people worldwide. Scleroderma affects women more than it affects men and is usually develops within the ages 30 and 50. This illness is inherent in African-American women and the Native American Choctaw tribe. It rarely occurs in northern Asians and in children.
What Are The Causes Of Scleroderma?
As of now, there is no accurate cause of scleroderma although medical experts suspect some factors to cause it. One of those factors is genetics; they say that scleroderma is in the genes and those with genetic defects are more susceptible to the disease. Another is an unhealthy environment that could expose a patient to some factors that may cause it such as bacteria, viruses and similar factors. Hormones could also play a role as to why it happens to more women than it does on men.
Another theory made by medical experts is that the fetal matter that is left over after pregnancy that is still circulating in the mother’s system can cause scleroderma even after years of giving birth. This is why the most common category for patients with scleroderma are women between ages 30 and 50. While these theories may be reasonable and logical, none of these are proven yet and they still remain as theories.
How Does Scleroderma Develop In The Elbows?
Scleroderma can occur in most parts of the body such as the skin, the lungs, kidneys, stomach, esophagus, intestines, heart and the bones however, the elbows are some of the most affected parts when it comes to scleroderma involvement. The thickening of the tissues in the elbow will bring about limitations in its movement and as well as can be accompanied by pain. The cause of this, which are most likely calcium deposits can actually be seen and felt.
The elbows are quite sensitive and can be affected even in limited scleroderma, especially the tips of the elbows called the olecranon area. If a patient’s elbows are affected by scleroderma, this can lead to discomforting irritation and tenderness if pressure is applied on the elbows. Fortunately, this is very possible to be treated.
How Can This Be Treated?
There is no known treatment for all cases of scleroderma. The approach for treating scleroderma is patient-specific and is more focused on preventing further damage and on treating individual symptoms. As for cases with elbow involvement, this can be treated with tropical lubricants and emollients. But if ever the patient would develop side effects or if these medications would not work at all, the patient can avail of alternative medicine.
One of the known alternative medicines that have proven effective in treating this condition is Bagbalm, this of which you would only apply to the tender areas of the affected area. Bagbalm is available over the counter and does not require any medical prescription.