Over the past few months I’ve experienced a flare up of my autoimmune disease. I’m fatigued, my skin is behaving in an unusual way. When I try to explain what’s happening to co-workers, family and friends they don’t seem to get it. To help others understand, here are my answers to a few basic questions:
What is scleroderma morphea?
Scleroderma morphea is a rare autoimmune disease in which your immune system “attacks” your skin by creating excess collagen. This process creates bruise like plaques on the skin, oval discolored hard patches with no hair. One of my new ones is in my armpit, making it so I have less hair to shave under there!
What causes scleroderma morphea?
No one knows! There are several suspected causes from recent infection, genetics, trauma to the affected area and radiation therapy. My doctor explained that when someone with the genes for scleroderma morphea gets an infection or their immune system starts misbehaving and their body begins to fight itself. Before long, collagen builds up and plaques appear on the skin.
What treatment is available for scleroderma morphea?
There is no cure and different treatments work to different levels of success for everyone. I apply a corticosteroid cream to my plaques which helps to get them under control after a flare up. Some people use light therapy, physical therapy and in severe cases, anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressant drugs are prescribed.
What else can you do to feel better?
As with any other time you don’t feel well, eat well, exercise, rest and drinking lots of water all help. I also am an avid mousturizer, taking care of my skin is important for me.
How can I help you feel better?
You can’t really, it will just take time. However, if you want to be my advocate and supporter there are a few things you can do. Encourage me to eat well, sleep well, work out – I love a cheerleader! Also be patient with me when I feel fatigued. And if you don’t know me, but want to help out, make a donation to the Scleroderma Foundation in my honor at http://www.scleroderma.org/donate.
Have more questions? Leave a comments and I will answer it!