Morphea is a skin disease which is very rare in nature. People suffering from this develop discolored patches occur on the skin, which are painless. Usually, these patches occur on chest, back and in the abdomen region of the body. Depending on the condition, the patches may also appear on the arms, face or legs. With time these patches become dry and hard. Morphea affects the outer layer of the skin but in sever conditions it also affects the inner skin layer, which in turn can also affect the joints.
Usually Morphea cures on it’s own over the time, but with medication the recovery becomes faster.
How Is Morphea Diagnosed?
Doctors diagnose morphea by investigative the skin and asking the patient about the problems or symptoms there are experiencing. A small portion of the skin is removed as sample for detail investigation in the laboratory. It examination is known as skin biopsy. This gives an actually condition of the skin such as thickness of the inner skin layer because of collagen protein. Collagen helps in building connective tissues such as skin. This makes the skin resilient and elastic.
It is very crucial to properly distinguish between morphea and other skin related to problems. Hence, the regular physician refer the patients to either a dermatologist (skin specialist) or a rheumatologist (Joint specialist). In addition, people suffering from morphea are also referred for eye examination because this skin problem can cause eye problems as well. For identifying the severity of the problem along with the way body is responding to the prescribed treatment, doctor conducts magnetic resonance and ultrasound imaging.
Treatment For Morphea
Usually, morphea get cured on its own without any treatment but it leaves some ugly scares on the body. Proper treatment helps in cleaning up the scares and keep a check on the symptoms of the problem. Different treatments includes:
Medicated Ointments. Doctor prescribe Vitamin D base ointments like Taclonex, Calcipotriene or Dovonex to make the patches soft. Results of treatment are experienced immediately after one month of treatment. Some of the common side effects of the problem include rashes, burning sensation and stinging. Doctor may also prescribe corticosteroid based ointment for getting rid of the inflammation. If used for a prolonged period of time then it can thin the skin.
Light Therapy. patient suffering from widespread or severe morphea are asked to undergo phototherapy i.e. ultraviolet light treatment.
Oral Medication. Patient who are not fit or willing to undergo light treatment are prescribed oral medication such as methotrexate pills or corticosteroid pills or at times both. These drugs have considerable side effects of not taken under proper supervision.
Majority of people ignore Morphea believing that it will get cured on its own, but the fact is if left untreated can leave ugly scares behind.
Symptoms Of Morphea
Symptoms of Morphea vary with the seriousness and stages of the condition. Some of the common symptoms includes:
- Oval patches (purplish or reddish colored) on skin. Mainly on the chest, back and abdomen region.
- The patches develop whitish center.
- Arms and legs develop linear patches.
- With time the patches becomes hard and dry.
- The affected area suffer loss of sweat glands and loss of hair.
Morphea is known to affect the outer layer of the skin, but in some rare cases it also affects the inner tissues and joints. The patches does not cause any harm of the body and disappear on their own after certain time.
Causes Of Morphea
The actual cause of morphea is not known but some experts believe that it is caused because of infection. Some people believe that morphea is contagious but actually it is not.
Complications Of Morphea
There are various complications associated with morphea.
- Movement Issue. Morphea affecting arms or legs affect joint mobility.
- Self-esteem. As ugly looking discolored patches develops on different areas of skin, so affects the self-esteem of an individual very badly.
- Eye Problems. People having morphea on the head or neck portion can suffer from partial or permanent eye damage.