Is Morphea The Same As Scleroderma?
Most of the times, patients and their family members ask a common question whether morphea and scleroderma are same. For this, experts have said that even though people often use both these terms interchangeably, morphea is a specific form of localized scleroderma.
Doctors say that morphea and sclerosis are two different diseases. Moreover, based on the below mentioned facts both of the skin-related problems, we should say that patients experiencing morphea do not remain at a risk related to developing of scleroderma.
Morphea is a type of autoimmune disease and it causes scar like changes to a person’s skin also referred as sclerosis. As an autoimmune disease, it takes place whenever our immune system, which provides protection to the body from viruses, bacteria and fungi attacks the own body mistakenly.
Symptoms Of Morphea
Morphea is of asymptomatic type and it has occasional itching as well as pain. The problem starts with the formation of purple or red area on the skin and later on, it becomes white and thick. Thick and white areas thus formed thin out with time and convert into brown color. Once the lesion forms, it never goes away completely. Morphea often tends to create a waning and waxing course in patients.
Extent Of Morphea
In most of the cases, the problem of morphea remains limited to one’s skin. However, the problem may extend deeply to involve one’s bone or muscle. Morphea even involves inner part of one’s mouth, eyes and genital areas; while, it initially takes place in middle of adulthood or childhood.
Presentations Of Morphea Lesions
Morphea lesions appear mainly in 5 different forms, which include-
- Few circles on the limbs or trunk i.e. circumscribed form
- Many circles on the limbs or trunk i.e. generalized form
- Involvement lines on the head or limbs i.e. linear form
- Combination of linear and circumscribed or linear and generalized lesions i.e. mixed ones
- Pansclerotic i.e. involvement of the entire skin of an individual
How Localized Scleroderma/Morphea Is Different From Scleroderma ?
Localized Scleroderma Does Not Affect Internal Organs
Unlike systemic scleroderma or scleroderma, which affects an individual’s internal organs, localized form of scleroderma/morphea does not cause any problem to internal organs. Instead, localized form of scleroderma affects the skin of a person only, while in some cases, it involves the underlying tissue and muscles.
Localized Scleroderma Is Not A Fatal Disease
Dermatologists do not consider localized scleroderma as any fatal disease. However, the problem affects one’s life quality adversely based on changes in the skin appearance and variations in the body movement because of joint contractures, while it causes severe deformities in the face as well as extremities in rare cases.
Features Thickening Of The Skin And Its Inflammation
Another key aspect associated with localized scleroderma or morphea is that it features thickening of one’s skin and its inflammation. Both of these problems take place due to the excessive deposition of collagen i.e. a natural protein present on the human skin. Collagen is responsible to provide the required structural support. However, when collagen accumulates on the skin in excessive amount, it makes your skin hard and stiff.
Absence Of Raynaud Phenomenon (Identified During The Diagnosis Procedure)
Along with the aforementioned facts about morphea/localized form of scleroderma, you may understand that morphea is different from scleroderma is that doctors diagnose morphea based on key findings related to skin biopsy and skin examination. This is because; patients suffering from localized form of scleroderma/morphea never have
Raynaud phenomenon i.e. they do not experience tightening of fingers’ skin, variation in blood vessels across the edge of nails, red puffy hands or swelling and redness in the hands, fingers turning blue, white and red with exposure to cold and similar others. On the other side, patients with any or all of the mentioned symptoms suffer from scleroderma or systemic sclerosis/scleroderma.