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I think I have scleroderma


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#1 ugh

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 09:37 PM

I get stressed easily, so I started smoking e cigarettes about three weeks ago because the nicotine calms me down, and today I noticed that the skin on the top of my hands are starting to feel tight and they look shiny.

 

I've had problems when I was a child with my immune system attacking itself, and for my whole life I've had problems with exercising because my lungs were weak.

When ever I told anyone about my lungs they would just say I need more exercise and not take me seriously.

 

I also take a taking a good amount of caffeine to keep up with my fast paced job, which stresses me out a lot. I tend to be an introvert and I have to talk to people in my job....

So it looks like everything I'm doing right now is killing me, I guess I should find a new job, stop doing e cigarettes and caffeine immediately. But yeah, I just found this out today so I just felt like venting.



#2 Joelf

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 07:49 AM

Hi Ugh,

 

Welcome to these forums!

 

Please note that I have no medical training (apart from a now out of date first aid certificate) however I can understand from your post that you are under quite a lot of pressure and certainly stress is not good for autoimmune problems. It's also possible that nicotine, whether from smoking tobacco or e cigarettes and excessive caffeine could exacerbate problems like Raynaud's and skin tightening.

 

I would suggest that your first port of call should be your doctor, as it does sound as if your lifestyle could be making your situation worse and then perhaps further tests could be done to enable him to help you towards a diagnosis. As many of the symptoms of Scleroderma can mimic other diseases, it can be a difficult beast to deal with and to reach a satisfactory diagnosis! ;)

 

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#3 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 08:22 AM

Hi Ugh,

 

Welcome to Sclero Forums.  I'm sorry you are feeling stressed and that your hands are starting to feel tight and look shiny. Other health issues can sometimes mimic scleroderma in the hands, such as diabetes for example, so the best thing to start with is to see your regular family doctor.  Get an overall physical exam and also explore ideas for dealing with stress in a healthier manner.

 

We all go off the rails sometimes in trying to deal with stress inappropriately. I have found that its just not stopping the bad things that help me, so much as starting to do things that might help me more. I am a miserable failure at simply stopping any bad habit, however, I sometimes enjoy a measure of success in simply starting up something even better. 

 

When I'm starting to veer off course, I like to make lists of things that I find enjoyable and relaxing, and then do them.  You may have simply not made a long enough list for yourself yet so that you can pick from the best options for the circumstances.  You'll know that if your foremost stress relief options do not include things like nature walks, beautiful music, creative projects, candlelight, reading, massage, pets, support groups, and all sorts of hobbies.

 

Voicing your concerns here is a great way to start, kudos for you! Replacing some of the coffee with a bit of herbal tea might be a pleasant next idea to consider.

 

The thing is, you are obviously feeling very stressed right now. The thought of changing jobs or quitting anything might make you feel even more stressed, not to mention your health concerns. Unfortunately, stress can worsen nearly any affliction -- although, amazingly, the right sort of stress sometimes bestows benefits, too, particularly if we respond to it with a few more healthy choices.

 

:emoticons-group-hug:


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Shelley Ensz
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Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#4 ugh

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 06:33 PM

I checked my BMI and it said I was underweight, and a symptom of malnutrition is tight shiny looking skin.

It also can stress you out and make you depressed. I didn't really realize I hadn't been eating that much.

So I'll start trying to eat  more for now, but I'm still going to stop the nicotine and caffeine because I've already been diagnosed with hypertension.

But the skin on the top of my hands aren't tough, just very glossy and shiny looking when I clench my fists.

 

I was probably just overreacting because the top results you find when googleing "shiny hands" is scleroderma.

I believed it for a bit there because I have a lot of problems similar to scleroderma. I'm still going to go see the doctor though.

Thanks for listening to me :)



#5 Joelf

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:36 PM

Hi Ugh,

 

I know (none better! ;)) how easy it is to google symptoms and then frighten yourself witless and I'm pleased to hear that you're intending to make some lifestyle changes to help you.

 

I do hope that it will improve things for you and that you will find that once you've seen your doctor you'll start to feel a lot better; please update us with any results of tests you have.

 

Kind regards,


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#6 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 03:16 AM

Hello Ugh

 

You couldn't  have ended up in a better place after googling your symptoms, even if you don't have scleroderma. Interestingly in an attempt to alleviate your stress you're increasing it! Caffeine and nicotine are not on any list for relieving stress, quite the opposite, even if smoking makes you feel better the cost to pocket and health will eventually stress you out for sure!

 

Discussing your health concerns with a doctor and perhaps the issues causing your stress with a counsellor you would be amazed what a difference it makes talking to a trained individual.

 

Either way I hope you get to the bottom of your health concerns and are able to manage your stress.

 

Take care.


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#7 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 05:24 PM

Hi Ugh,

 

Amanda can give great and appropriate sales pitches about counselors, because she is married to one. It is so much fun, go see his page, Michael Thorpe: ISN Sclero Forums Blogger.

 

Actually I was astounded by her point that neither nicotine or caffeine are on any list for relieving stress.  That's probably because I'm a former nicotine addict and have an on-again off-again relationship with caffeine.  While I smoked, I always thought of it as a stress reliever, and quitting as causing really maximum stress. Probably because I quit about 200 times before I managed to actually stay quit.

 

But, now that I think about it, my life is so much improved without the nicotine addiction. It IS a stress reduction to not have it in my life. I don't know how I ever thought of it as being my best friend and only comfort in the world, but that's addiction speaking for you, isn't it?  Huh. Anyway, this was all good food for thought for me today.

 

Anyway, it's not good for your to be underweight or have malnutrition.  We strongly support you going to the doctor to find out what's going on. Happily, when you cut back on nicotine a bit you may find a resurgence of your appetite.  But we want to see you on the road to improved health before you cut yourself loose from the forums.  Keep us posted, okay?

 

:emoticons-group-hug:


Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#8 miocean

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:42 PM

Hi Ugh. Great name, fits how most of us feel some of the time.

 

"I've had problems when I was a child with my immune system attacking itself, and for my whole life I've had problems with exercising because my lungs were weak."

 

Can your share your childhood experience of  your immune system attacking itself? What were your symptoms? Did you ever get a diagnosis? Have you ever had a Pulmonary Function Test or a 6 Minute Walk Test? Perhaps you should go to a pulmonologist and get tested. I would also suggest some calming exercises, meditation, a creative outlet or anything else than can help with the stress.

 

I am curious about your previous symptoms and if you have any other current ones besides the shiny hands and lung issues. 

 

Good luck ditching the nicotine, it is a hard habit to break.

 

miocean


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