Autoimmune diseases are health conditions that cause your immune system to attack your own body. These disorders take on a wide variety of forms and can affect practically all of your body’s systems. Some autoimmune diseases impact the skin, leading to symptoms like rashes, itching, pain, and discoloration.
Autoimmune disorders are incredibly complicated illnesses with no known cures. However, it is possible to get your symptoms under control with healthy lifestyle choices and treatments from specialists.
Psoriasis causes your skin cells to grow faster than normal, which leads to dry and scaly patches of skin. These patches typically develop on the scalp, elbows, knees, or lower back, but they can appear anywhere on your body. Like many autoimmune diseases, psoriasis tends to come and go in flares. You might suffer from itchy and inflamed skin patches for several weeks or months before the condition subsides again.
Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease that causes the skin to tighten up and harden. This usually starts at your extremities but may spread to your chest and abdomen. The affected skin may look discolored or shiny. Scleroderma sometimes affects only the skin, but it can also damage your blood vessels and organs.
Vasculitis is the swelling and inflammation of your blood vessels, which leads to reduced blood flow to your skin and organs. This disease can cause skin rashes, discoloration, and open sores. Cutaneous vasculitis, a form of the disease that specifically impacts the skin, can result in red or purple spots on the legs and feet.
Lupus causes your immune system to attack your skin, joints, heart, lungs, kidneys, and other body tissues. While some people with lupus do not experience any skin issues, others develop painful sores or lesions across their bodies. A red or purple “butterfly rash” across the cheeks and nose is also a common symptom of lupus.
Vitiligo causes your skin to lose its melanin, the substance that produces pigment. This disorder usually develops in young adults and progresses over time. Small white patches develop on the skin and gradually enlarge. Vitiligo isn’t painful, but the lighter patches of skin are more vulnerable to sun damage.
Autoimmune diseases can cause painful and uncomfortable skin symptoms. Additionally, some patients struggle with shame or embarrassment because their skin symptoms are visible to others. If you suffer from an autoimmune disorder that affects your skin, you should consult with a dermatologist for support. Although there is no cure for an autoimmune problem, your dermatologist can recommend medications or other treatments to ease your symptoms. Your dermatologist can also help you identify triggers for your autoimmune symptoms, which will help you adjust your lifestyle to avoid flare-ups.
Trillium Creek Dermatology serves clients in Medina, Wooster, Brunswick, and Wadsworth, Ohio. Our staff understands how devastating an autoimmune disorder can be, and we’re here to help you on your journey to wellness. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our highly skilled dermatologists.