Autoimmune diseases is seen when the immune system protecting the body against cancer or other form of infection starts to work in a reverse direction and starts to destroy own body tissues. Morphea is caused because of autoimmune fibrosing injury that occurs on the skin and at times even in the bones, underlying skin layer and muscle. In medical term, this skin disease is also known localized scleroderma. Even though the name is quite similar still patients of morphea does not develop scleroderma in the internal organs.
Is Morphea A Skin Cancer?
This is a common question that arises in the mind of majority of people. The answer to this question is no. Morphea is a skin problem, but it is not cancerous. There are conditions in which morphea gets combines with other severe skin problems, which can lead to cancer but morphea along is not a cancer.
Morphea is a condition in which the immune system of the body causes skin infection. This infection further spreads and cause fibrosis both in the skin as well as in the underlying tissues. There are various different forms of morphea known till date, some are specifically found in adults while some grow from childhood phase only. (1)
Let us take a look on some of the common types of morphea-
Adult-Onset Morphea– Circumscribed morphea leads to fibrosis of skin and one of the three targeted areas is the subcutaneous fat. This type of skin problem is very common in adults, but unlike other types it does not affect bones and muscles. On the other hand generalized morphea occurs on four different areas of the skin; patients suffering from this often feel tired and suffer frequent joint pain.
Juvenile-Onset Morphea– This form is also known as linear morphea. As the name suggests this type of morphea occurs as line either on the forehead, legs or hands. When linear morphea occurs on the hair scalp or face then it is termed as morphea en coup d’sabre. Linear morphea is commonly found in children than in adults and it affects the muscles and bones. If found on head then it means it is quite severe and calls for immediate treatment. Some of the people believe that facial hemiatrophy and linear morphea is quite a similar condition. The fact is that in facial hemiatrophy skin tissues start to shrink and starts from one side of the face.
Pansclerotic Morphea– It is one of the rarest forms causing fibrosis of trunk skin. In addition it also causes fibrosis in the subcutaneous fat, muscle and bones. If the condition is kept untreated for a prolonged period of time then it can lead to either permanent disability or in certain cases even death of the patient.
Mixed Morphea– Some patients experience combination of either linear and circumscribed morphea or linear and generalized morphea. This variant is known as mixed morphea.
Causes Of Morphea
Till date the exact cause of morphea is not known. However, it has been observed that patients having a family history of autoimmune diseases are more prone to develop this problem as compared to other. This clearly displays that morphea has a genetic link. Also, reports have revealed that patient who have undergone repeated radiation therapy or suffered skin injury also develop morphea.
The complications associated with different types of morphea is different. For instance, patients suffering from generalized morphea feel frequent join ache and fatigue. Further, patients with pansclerotic and generalized morphea suffer breathing problem (when the problem develops on the chest skin). If skin on the limb develop this problem then children who are suffering from linear morphea experience shortening of limb. When linear morphea develops on the hair scalp then it becomes a neurological problems. Also, these children can suffer eye related problems.
Morphea is a problem which has different effect on different patients. In addition, it reacts differently in different conditions and so on.