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BNP marker in Scleroderma

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I went to an appointment the other day to my new rheumatologist, she is a Rheumatolgist as well as a researcher for Scleroderma. I was asked whether I wanted to be a participant in an Australian Scleroderma Screening Program.


It involves me being involved in an annual Screening Program and me giving them permission to study my blood, everthing remains confidential, only my rheumatologist and another researcher knows which patient the blood came from.


They also ask heaps of questions about exposure to Silica Dust and other solvents, in case I was in contact with it. They also pick apart DNA in my blood to see whether there is a link between certain genes and Scleroderma.


I gave them full permission for them to do this with my blood sample. All of this information is on the Austalian Data Base for Scleroderma. No one can access this data base except researchers.


On the information that I was given about this data base they mentioned a marker which can predict if the disease is present or help to predict how severe the disease will be in the future.This marker is called the BNP marker which may be raised in patients with Scleroderma or MCTD who have PH. The only way they can test this is through a blood sample.


Has anyone heard of this, I live iN Australia.


Many thanks


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I haven't heard of this but it would be nice if more doctors would read the most recent research into this problem.


As to silica exposure. The only silica exposure I can think I may have had was scoopable cat litter. We had a cat for 18 years, and I used scoopable when it came out. I'm not that diligent in cleaning the litter box, but it makes me wonder. I now have another cat, and we are only using the clay litter. I'm not sure if that has silica in it or not, but I am still not super diligent in cleaning out the boxes. I make sure that I wash really well, I sanitize the box, and I hold my breath when I'm pouring in the new litter.


I've heard that the silicone breast implants have been linked to scleroderma, it sure is a good thing I haven't been down that road. My husband would have loved me to get that done since I'm extremely under-endowed. I'm so glad that reluctance to undergo a surgical procedure kept me from that.


I've lived all over the mid-west, MI, OH, IN, IL, and WI. In one town in Indiana there was a lot of toxic material in the environment from all the manufacturing in town. We had so many people at church that had some form of cancer it was scary. We only lived there for 3 years. It is hard to know what we might have been exposed to all our lives.

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I found this information about BNP from the Mayo Clinic site. Apparently BNP is a marker used to determine heart failure. When your heart can't meet the blood supply needs of the body, the ventricles secrete an excess amount of the protein BNP. People with scleroderma can develop heart problems (one of my major symptoms).

You might want to read through the ISN information on Environmental exposures as being possible causes of scleroderma. There is a whole page on silica exposure. I do feel that silica exposure could have been one of the triggers for my disease along with hormones as the strongest trigger. I've played pool for years. Pool chalk is nothing but silica. Of course I didn't find that out until after diagnosis. UGH! In my teaching days, I handled lots of silicon wafers and even purposely broke many them to show the crystal structures to the students. Oh well.

The screening program sounds extremely interesting. Thanks for your participation!! I know that giving even MORE blood was not pleasant.

Janey Willis

ISN Support Specialist

(Retired) ISN Assistant Webmaster

(Retired) ISN News Director

(Retired) ISN Technical Writer for Training Manuals

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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