About old age pemphigus
What is old age pemphigus?
Bullous Pemphigoid is a rare, autoimmune, chronic skin disorder characterized by blistering. This disorder occurs most frequently in elderly people. Generalized blistering occurs in and under the upper layers of the skin and usually subsides spontaneously within several months or years. However, symptoms may recur. In some rare cases of Bullous Pemphigoid, complications such as pneumonia may develop.
What are the symptoms for old age pemphigus?
The signs and symptoms of two common types of pemphigus are as follows:
- Pemphigus vulgaris. This type usually begins with Blisters in your mouth and then on your skin or genital mucous membranes. The Blisters typically are painful but don't itch. Blisters in your mouth or throat may make it hard to swallow and eat.
- Pemphigus foliaceus. This type causes Blisters on the chest, back and shoulders. The Blisters tend to be more Itchy than painful. Pemphigus foliaceus doesn't cause mouth blisters.
Pemphigus is distinct from bullous pemphigoid, which is a blistering skin condition that affects older adults and may cause death.
What are the causes for old age pemphigus?
Pemphigus is an autoimmune disorder. Normally, your immune system produces antibodies to fight off harmful invaders, such viruses and bacteria. But in pemphigus, the body produces antibodies that damage cells of your skin and mucous membranes.
Pemphigus isn't contagious. In most cases, it's unknown what triggers the disease.
Rarely, pemphigus is triggered by the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, penicillamine and other drugs.
What are the treatments for old age pemphigus?
Treatment usually begins with medications that are intended to suppress blister formation. It's generally more effective when it begins as early as possible. If use of a drug triggered your condition, stopping use of it may be enough to clear up your pemphigus.
What are the risk factors for old age pemphigus?
Your risk of pemphigus increases if you're middle-aged or older. The condition tends to be more common in people of Middle Eastern or Jewish descent.
Is there a cure/medications for old age pemphigus?
The following prescription medications may be used alone or in combination, depending on the type and severity of your pemphigus and whether you have other medical conditions:
Corticosteroids. For people with mild disease, corticosteroid cream may be enough to control it. For others, the mainstay of treatment is an oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone pills.
Using corticosteroids for a long time or in high doses may cause serious side effects, including diabetes, bone loss, an increased risk of infection, stomach ulcers and a redistribution of body fat, leading to a round face (moon face).
- Steroid-sparing immunosuppressant drugs. Medications such as azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan), mycophenolate (Cellcept) and cyclophosphamide help keep your immune system from attacking healthy tissue. They may have serious side effects, including increased risk of infection.
- Other medications. If first-line drugs aren't helping you, your doctor may suggest another drug, such as dapsone, intravenous immunoglobulin or rituximab (Rituxan).
Many people get better with treatment, although it may take years. Others need to take a lower dose of medication indefinitely to prevent their signs and symptoms from returning. And some people need treatment in a hospital — for example, to care for severe or infected sores.