According to the Cleveland Clinic, although scleroderma may be similar in adults and children, there are some specific characteristics that are more pronounced in children.
- There are two types of pediatric scleroderma: localized scleroderma and systemic scleroderma
- Localized scleroderma is more common in children, usually only affecting the skin. In some cases, it might spread to the underlying muscles.
- Children with systemic sclerosis may have more widespread skin changes which may result in limited joint movement.
- Raynaud’s phenomenon may be present early on for a child with systemic sclerosis.
- Fatigue, difficulty swallowing, joint pain may also be present early on in a child with systemic sclerosis.
- Children with systemic sclerosis should be checked often in order to detect and possibly treat potential internal organ involvement.
- Scleroderma, both in children and adults, is NOT contagious, so people cannot “catch it” or pass it on to someone else.
- There are between 5,000 and 7,000 children diagnosed with scleroderma in the United States.
- 1.5 percent of all scleroderma patients will develop the disease before the age of 10.
- 7 percent of all scleroderma patients will develop the disease between the ages of 10 and 19.
- The mean age of onset for both forms of pediatric scleroderma is between 7.3 and 8.8 years of age.
- Approximately two-thirds of children with scleroderma are female.
- There is no clear evidence for racial predilection for either form of pediatric scleroderma.
- There is still no cure for scleroderma but with an early diagnosis, it can be managed and treated.
- Treatment is specialized and focused for each child. It will vary depending on his or her overall health, type of scleroderma, medical history, the presence of other symptoms and its severity.
- Scleroderma management often includes family counseling regarding emotional, financial, cosmetic, disability, and social issues.
- The outlook will depend on the type of scleroderma, whether or not there is internal organ involvement, and where and how much skin is affected.
- In systemic sclerosis, children who have lung, kidney or heart problems usually have the greatest risk for complications.
- While localized scleroderma usually progresses in the early stages, it will often stop spreading and changing after the first three to four years. In some cases, it might even be resolved by adulthood.
- Scleroderma does not usually go away, but it is possible for it to remain at the same level and not get any worse for several years.
Learn more about pediatric scleroderma here: http://cle.clinic/1OMW394
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