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Risk Factors And Complications Linked To Morphea

Morphea is the name for a skin condition that leads to one patch or multiple patches of hardened or discolored skin on the feet, torso, hands, neck, or face. This condition is rare enough that it affects fewer than three out of every 100,000 individuals. The majority of morphea cases resolve by themselves, but some patients do experience relapses. No internal organs are involved since the condition primarily affects the skin. 

Severe forms of morphea can cause cosmetic deformities, and rare cases can affect a patient's skeleton, joints, or muscle. The hallmark sign of morphea is discolored and thick patches of skin in an oval shape. While the patch tends to be reddish, the outer edge might be lilac-colored, and toward the center of the lesion, the color gradually turns to yellow or white.

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Age And Gender

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The exact cause behind morphea is not currently known, though certain risk factors can increase an individual's chances of developing it. The condition occurs more commonly in women, though there are men who have developed morphea. Both adults and children can develop morphea. When children develop the condition, it tends to be diagnosed in those between two and fourteen years old. In adulthood, morphea usually develops in adults between fifty and sixty years old. Some adults might develop the condition when they're in their mid-forties, and it might persist into their fifties. 

Studies indicate morphea is more likely to develop in individuals with European ancestry. Individuals experiencing symptoms of morphea should talk to their doctor, who will probably refer them to a dermatologist, a doctor who specializes in skin diseases. The dermatologist will go over the patient's medical history and risk factors when making a diagnosis.

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Katherine MacAulay
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