Recent studies including those in psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) have collected many evidences on the psychosocial correlations with systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). Systemic sclerosis has been associated with clinical mood disorders including anxiety and depression (Malcarne et al., 2013). It is also often seen with other health problems such as sleep disorders, fatigue, pain, and pruritus.
In addition, studies about the relationships between systemic sclerosis and body image distress have identified the critical factors of alterations in the facial skin and hands (Malcarne et al., 2013). The workplace disability related to systemic sclerosis may be predicted by the factors of breathing problems and fatigue.
Because of the complex mechanisms involved in systemic sclerosis and associated health problems, multidisciplinary care has been suggested helpful for improving the quality of life among the relevant patients (Malcarne et al., 2013). Broader studies at different levels of systemic sclerosis are still needed, especially about the psychosocial factors and associated immune dysfunctions. Such studies would be useful for the prediction, prevention, and treatment of systemic sclerosis and relevant psychological and physiological problems.
Malcarne VL, Fox RS, Mills SD, Gholizadeh S. Psychosocial aspects of systemic sclerosis. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2013 Nov;25(6):707-13. doi: 10.1097/01.bor.0000434666.47397.c2.