Sclerosis is a condition characterized by either the hardening of body tissues or the accumulation of extra body tissues. Sclerosis, in general, occurs as the result of some type of inflammation in the body. The types of sclerosis include lichen sclerosus, systematic sclerosis, tuberous sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis. Symptoms vary with each type of sclerosis.
Lichen sclerosus is a rare type of sclerosis that most often affects either children or women who have been through menopause. This condition is characterized by usually white, thin skin. The affected skin may also become wrinkled or blotchy and may be extremely itchy. Lichen sclerosus most commonly affects the skin around the genitals, but it can affect any area of skin.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
ALS is a type of sclerosis that is also very rare. It is also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a neurological disorder that results in muscle weakness, total disability and death. Symptoms of ALS include leg weakness, hand weakness, slurred speech, swallowing difficulties and muscle twitching or cramps in the shoulders, arms and tongue.
Systematic sclerosis may also be referred to as scleroderma. Systematic sclerosis affects the body’s connective tissues and skin by causing it to tighten and harden. The fingers and hands may swell and the skin on the hands and face may become tighter causing restricted movement. Symptoms of systematic sclerosis may include Raynaud’s phenomenon, which is a condition that occurs when the hands and feet become numb, painful and discolored in response to cold temperatures. Systematic sclerosis can also cause problems with the internal organs. Also, some individuals with systematic sclerosis may also have gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Tuberous sclerosis is also rare and it is genetic. This condition causes benign tumors to develop on or in various parts of the body. The symptoms or tuberous sclerosis vary greatly in severity. Skin symptoms may include light skin patches which are thicker than usual. Also, facial sores similar to acne may occur and growths may be present around or under the nails. If the tuberous sclerosis causes brain tumors, the symptoms may include learning disabilities, seizures and even behavior problems. Sometimes tumors develop in the kidneys or lungs, causing serious complications.
Multiple sclerosis is the most common type of sclerosis that occurs when the body’s immune system malfunctions and attacks the nerves’ protective coverings. The disease disrupts the brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body. Symptoms of multiple sclerosis include limb weakness and numbness, vision impairment, unexplained pain and tingling, tremors, dizziness and fatigue.