Donate to Esophageal Scleroderma Research, Patient Care and Education

Esophageal scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder that causes atypical growth of connective tissues in the esophagus. Weakened muscles and esophageal strictures can result from esophageal scleroderma, meaning that food travels slowly through the stomach and the sphincter does not fully close. Women, Native-Americans and African-Americans are at highest risk for developing esophageal scleroderma. Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center is nationally recognized for its medical excellence in the area of gastrointestinal health. A multidisciplinary team of physicians are committed to bringing top quality care to patients with esophageal scleroderma as well as other diseases of the digestive tract. By making a donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you can grant the resources necessary to continue this high level of patient care through the advancement of diagnostic tools and treatments for esophageal scleroderma.

Scleroderma is caused by a malfunctioning immune system. The body produces an excessive amount of collagen and then stores it in the tissues. The reason behind this abnormality is not fully understood, though there has been some connection to patients who have been exposed to pesticides, solvents and epoxy resins. There is still much research to be done in the area of esophageal scleroderma. With your gift to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, physicians will be able to conduct in-depth research in the area of esophageal scleroderma in order to provide more effective treatments, and one day, a cure.

Symptoms of esophageal scleroderma vary depending on the severity of the disease. Common symptoms include:

  • Heartburn
  • Difficulty and pain while swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Choking
  • Hoarseness or voice loss
  • Regurgitation
  • Feeling that food is stuck in the esophagus

Scientists at Northwestern Medicine are committed to developing even more effective treatments for esophageal scleroderma and, ultimately, to finding a cure for this disease. Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will help to advance crucial research efforts that have the potential to transform the understanding and treatment of esophageal scleroderma. Currently, there are several treatment options that can provide relief from symptoms. These treatment options include:

  • Dietary changes
    • Eat soft or pureed foods
    • Eat slowly and chew food completely
    • Avoid foods that stick to the throat
    • Stay away from food and alcohol known to trigger symptoms like spicy foods, chocolate, fatty foods, tobacco and caffeine
  • Lifestyle changes:
    • Remain upright after meals
    • Elevate the head of the bed
    • Avoid tight-fighting clothes
    • Lose weight
  • Medications: Stomach acid can be controlled with over-the-counter and prescription medication.
  • Pneumatic dilation: A special balloon is inflated in the esophagus to stretch restrictive muscles.

Esophageal Scleroderma Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Relief is desperately needed for people suffering from the pain and discomfort of living with esophageal scleroderma. Physicians at Northwestern Medicine strive to provide the high-quality care and treatment required to provide this relief. The Esophageal Program at Northwestern Medicine offers patients diagnosed with esophageal scleroderma compassionate physicians, sophisticated diagnostic testing, clinical research and leading-edge surgical practice.  Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation is a powerful tool that will allow patients to receive respite from the disease that haunts them. Support patients with esophageal scleroderma with your generous donation.

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