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Eosinophilic fasciitis


Definition:

Eosinophilic fasciitis is a very rate syndrome in which muscle tissue under the skin, called fascia, becomes swollen and thick. The hands, arms, legs, and feet can swell quickly.

The disease may look similar to scleroderma but is not related.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

The cause of eosinophilic fasciitis is unknown. In people with this condition, white blood cells called eosinophils, build up in the muscles and tissues. Eosinophils are linked to allergic reactions. The syndrome is more common in people ages 30 to 60.

Symptoms:
Signs and tests:

Tests that may be done include:

Treatment:

Corticosteroids and other immune-suppressing medicines are used to relieve symptoms. These medicines are more effective when started  early in the disease. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also help reduce symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis):

In most cases, the condition goes away within 3 to 5 years. However, symptoms may last longer or come back.

Complications:

Arthritis is a rare complication of eosinophilic fasciitis. Some people may develop very serious blood disorders or blood-related cancers, such as aplastic anemia or leukemia. The outlook is much worse if blood diseases occur.

Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this disorder.

Prevention:

There is no known prevention.

References:

Lee LA, Werth VP. The Skin and Rhematic Diseases. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Gabriel SE, et al, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2012:chap 43.


Review Date: 3/22/2013
Reviewed By: Ariel D. Teitel, MD, MBA, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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