10 Important Terms for Scleroderma You Should Know About
Certain terms that a scleroderma patient will hear over and over from doctors, physicians, and even fellow patients can sound totally alien — at first. Here’s what some of those terms mean in everyday language, according to the Scleroderma Foundation.
“Pain in a joint.”
“Disease or antibody, which acts against the person’s own tissues.”
“A normal, fibrous protein found in the connective tissue of the body.”
4. Connective tissue
“Tissue, which pervades, supports and binds together other tissues including mucous, fibrous, reticular, adipose, cartilage, skin, and bone. Connective-tissue diseases are a group of diseases with similar cellular changes, but with the site where the changes occur determining the specific disease. Included are scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, and rheumatoid arthritis.”
New research indicates that African-Americans with connective tissue diseases, including scleroderma, are twice as likely as Caucasians with the same medical conditions to have specific risk factors for a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular-related death.
5. Immune system
“The system of organs, cells and proteins, which protect the body from foreign substances by producing immune responses. The immune system organs include the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes and bone marrow. The cells include white cells, lymphocytes, T cells and B cells. Immunoglobulins (antibodies) are proteins that can react with and/or neutralize corresponding proteins called antigens (usually damaged or foreign material). The immune system is essentially protective and helpful to the body, but can be the cause of disease and allergy when it attacks parts of the normal body in a process called autoimmunity.”
“Difficulty in swallowing.”
Throughout June, our resident blogger and scleroderma patient Nicola Whitehill posted information and facts daily about scleroderma to commemorate Scleroderma Awareness Month.
“Abnormal formation of excess fibrous (consisting of, or resembling fibers) tissue.”
8. Raynaud phenomenon
“Also called Raynaud Syndrome. A disorder with recurring spasms of the small blood vessels upon exposure to cold; characterized by fingers and toes turning white, blue, and red as circulation abnormally overreacts to normal conditions. Emotional stress may also trigger an attack. Named after the French physician (Dr. Maurice Raynaud, pronounced “Raynode”) who first described it.”
“Prediction of the progression and end result of a disease, or estimate of chance of recovery.”
10. Remission, spontaneous remission
“A period during which the symptoms of a disease decrease or go away. If the reason for remission is not related to treatment but seems to occur for no apparent reason, it is called spontaneous.”
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