11:28 AM

What Is Scleroderma Renal Crisis? The Key Symptoms You Need to Watch For

CreakyJoints reports the scleroderma renal crisis (SRC) is a serious complication that can infrequently affect people who have systemic sclerosis. Experts including HSS rheumatologist Robert F. Spiera, MD discussed the signs, symptoms and treatment of SRC.

SRC is characterized by sudden hypertension (high blood pressure) and rapidly progressive renal failure, typically without previous significant kidney disease. SRC can also involve hypertensive encephalopathy (brain disfunction due to high blood pressure), congestive heart failure, and/or microangiopathic hemolytic anemia (loss of red blood cells). Dr. Spiera explained an early diagnosis of scleroderma is critical to reduce the risk of complications like SRC. “You have to be vigilant and take this condition seriously upfront,” he said. “About 10 percent of people with scleroderma renal crisis will still have normal blood pressure, though their blood pressure levels are elevated relative to their own baseline,” cited Dr. Spiera. “Patients who have hypertension often have some protein in the urine,” he added.

Patients with scleroderma will have their blood tested for certain antibodies, which can help confirm a diagnosis with SRC. “Checking blood levels of renin can be helpful,” noted Dr. Spiera, the enzyme that helps control your blood pressure, and is produced by cells in the kidneys. Treatment of SRC aims to control blood pressure with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs). “You need to treat aggressively with ACEIs, pushing for the highest dose that’s tolerable by your blood pressure,” said Dr. Spiera.

Read the article at Creakyjoints.org.