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What is CREST syndrome?

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Quick Answer

CREST syndrome is a skin condition that causes hardened skin on the lower arms, legs, face and throat, states Mayo Clinic. CREST syndrome issues range from minor to causing serious problems with the heart or lungs. CREST syndrome is also known as limited scleroderma.

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Full Answer

Symptoms of CREST syndrome include tingling in the skin caused by constricted circulation, red lines or spots on the skin, difficulty swallowing, and bumps under the skin, according to Mayo Clinic. Women are more likely to develop CREST syndrome, and more blacks and Choctaw Native Americans have this condition than other races. Exposure to toxins such as trichloroethylene, benzene and silica may trigger CREST syndrome in people with a genetic history of autoimmune diseases. Complications of CREST syndrome include gastrointestinal issues, lung damage, ulcers on fingers and toes, heart problems, and dental issues.

There is no cure for CREST syndrome as of 2015, but medications, therapy and surgery treat the symptoms of this condition, according to Mayo Clinic. Medications include topical antibiotics, antacid drugs, blood-pressure-lowering drugs and immune system depressants. Physical therapy and occupational therapy prevent loss of mobility and teaches an individual how to handle everyday tasks, and surgery removes the related calcium deposits, red lines or spots, and gangrene.

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