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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Could a comprehensive metabolic profile test help my scleroderma?

Q) I've been informed that positive changes to my scleroderma could be brought about by having a 'comprehensive metabolic profile test'. This, I understand, would highlight where the deficiencies are in my body, locate the detoxification pathways and establish the root cause of my disease. Once these factors have been identified, drug-free remedies can be used to address the condition. Has such research ever been commissioned by Arthritis Research UK, and if not, why not?
Sylvia Dale, Liverpool, Merseyside (Summer 2009)

A) As I understand it, a comprehensive metabolic profile test looks at the way your major organs (kidney, blood and liver) are working. This helps to target problems for your doctor to follow up. I haven't seen anything that suggests it can identify the cause of such a complex and rare disease as scleroderma. Although the exact cause of scleroderma isn't known, we do know a lot about the processes involved in how the disease starts and progresses over time. Disease of the small blood vessels is instrumental in starting the process of thickening of the skin and internal organs. Many of the body’s chemicals involved in these processes are known and are currently being targeted by new drugs. There is, therefore, great promise for scleroderma treatments in the future. Scleroderma can affect any of the major organs and abnormalities on the metabolic profile test are bound to turn up, but these reflect the impact of the disease rather than the cause.

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