Clinical Review

Systemic Scleroderma: The Truth Beneath a "Skin Disease"

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Colchicine may help alleviate inflammation, pain, and calcinosis. Physiotherapy can help prevent deformities, and an exercise routine is important to maintain joint mobility.5,41 Lubrication with emollients is essential for dry, sclerotic skin.

In addition, psychologic guidance through counseling is important for the patient’s self-confidence and self-image. SSc can be disfiguring, with the face and hands affected in almost all cases.11

Monitoring and Follow-Up
Emphasizing regular visits and routine screening procedures is crucial in the management of SSc. A team of specialists should be involved in treating the complex, diverse symptoms of SSc and in monitoring the disease to prevent further organ fibrosis and dysfunction.

Systemic sclerosis is a complex, multisystem disease. Because it is highly variable in expression and clinical presentation, diagnosis is difficult and often overlooked, even by the most attentive clinicians. Widespread involvement of SSc and potential fibrosis of organs beyond the skin (including the kidneys, heart, lungs, muscles, joints, and GI tract) contribute to SSc’s devastating morbidity and mortality.

Treatment is aimed at controlling the vasculopathy, autoimmunity, and fibrosis associated with the disease. Since there is no cure for SSc, close monitoring and management by a team of health care professionals are essential in slowing disease progression.

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