What is Pemphigus Vulgaris?

Autoimmune diseases come in many shapes and forms. They are characterised by the body’s own immune system attacking the body itself and can range from fairly mild to very dangerous. One of these illnesses is known as pemphigus vulgaris.  This is a rare type of autoimmune disease affecting around 3 people in 100,000. The signs of this illness are most noticeable on the skin, as it causes blisters to form on it. Blisters can also be found on the mucous membranes like the throat, nose and eyes too.

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This is an illness which many scientists are working hard to get a better understanding of. Places like this www.trials4us.co.uk also run paid clinical trials to research and understand this illness to help treat it more effectively. It is thought that it is contracted genetically yet doesn’t make itself known until the person comes into contact with a trigger, this could be a type of chemical or a certain medicine, like an allergy. Once this happens the immune system starts to fight the cells within the body, in the same way it would fight a virus. The immune system in this illness seeks the proteins which bind skin cells and attacks them – this causes fluid to form in between the cells and this then forms the blisters which characterise the illness.

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In some cases, if the environmental trigger is identified and removed, the immune system will stop doing this and return to normal, but this is not always the case and identifying what has caused it in the first place can be difficult. Currently, there are many ways to treat it, but treatment can take many years. Some of these ways include:

Steroid Creams – These creams can be given to treat the inflammation and soreness of the skin where the blisters have formed.

Immune Suppressing Drugs – These drugs inhibit the immune system and can help it to stop attacking the healthy cells. The downside to this of course is that the patient is more vulnerable to actual viruses., so this needs to be fully discussed with a doctor.

Taking Care of Oral Hygiene – Blisters often form in the mouth and can affect the health of it, so dentists can work with people who have pemphigus vulgaris to help them to manage their oral hygiene well.

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