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The Health Effects of Calcium Deposits Under the Skin

Numerous health effects or conditions are associated with calcinosis or calcium deposits under the skin. According to the Arthritis Foundation, calcinosis is the medical term for calcium deposits that can form under the skin or in the muscles. Calcium deposits in these locations may cause recurrent inflammation or ulcers in the overlying skin. Calcinosis occurs in many medical conditions, along with other symptoms that may decrease a person's quality of life and cause discomfort.

Scleroderma

Scleroderma is a rheumatic disease and connective tissue disease that involves calcium deposits under the skin. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases or NIAMS, scleroderma is actually a collection or rare and progressive diseases characterized by the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues, or the fibers that support the body and give it a framework 1. Common signs and symptoms associated with scleroderma include calcium deposits under the skin, swollen fingers and hands, shiny skin and thickened skin. A person with scleroderma also is more likely to develop Raynaud's phenomenon and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Raynaud's phenomenon is an exaggerated response to cold in which a person experiences pain and skin discoloration in the fingers or toes. Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, occurs when acid from the stomach flows up into the esophagus.

Dermatomyositis

Dermatomyositis is an inflammation-related condition that involves calcium deposits under the skin. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or NINDS, states that dermatomyositis is actually one of a group of muscle diseases called inflammatory myopathies that involve long-term muscle inflammation and muscle weakness. According to the NINDS, both children and adults with dermatomyositis can develop calcium deposits, which manifest as hard bumps under the skin or in the muscle. Dermatomyositis-related calcium deposits usually develop 1 to 3 years after the disease begins. Calcinosis is more common in children with dermatomyositis than adults. Other common signs and symptoms associated with dermatomyositis include:

  • a violet-colored rash on various parts of the body
  • progressive muscle weakness
  • swallowing problems
  • muscle pain or tenderness
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • weight loss
  • lung problems
  • gastrointestinal ulcers

Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune condition that involves calcium deposits under the skin. According to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center or JHAC, diffuse soft tissue calcification is a rare complication of lupus. Calcinosis tends to manifest in a person who received a diagnosis of lupus at an early age. Most lupus-related calcinosis occurs in the lower extremities, causing both diffuse and nodular densities in the soft tissues of affected areas. Areas of calcium deposition prove more vulnerable to ulceration and infection, reports the JHAC. The cause of lupus-related calcinosis remains unknown. Treatment emphasizes symptom management, including reducing the likelihood of infection.

The Wrap Up

Numerous health effects or conditions are associated with calcinosis or calcium deposits under the skin. Dermatomyositis is an inflammation-related condition that involves calcium deposits under the skin. According to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center or JHAC, diffuse soft tissue calcification is a rare complication of lupus. Most lupus-related calcinosis occurs in the lower extremities, causing both diffuse and nodular densities in the soft tissues of affected areas. Treatment emphasizes symptom management, including reducing the likelihood of infection.

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