Scleroderma renal crisis is the term used to describe kidney involvement in scleroderma because of the very much discomforting symptoms brought about by it that indeed puts the patient into a crisis. This happens when scleroderma, of which the cause is unknown, would reach the kidneys, limiting blood supply to it and limiting its functions or totally impairing it. This condition could only happen to those with the diffuse form of scleroderma which is called limited sclerosis.
Kidney involvement in scleroderma would usually start of as an increase in blood pressure then would later show more signs within weeks or days. Scleroderma renal crisis is mainly associated with a decrease in kidney function, the appearance of protein in urine and in severe cases, accompanied by heart failure.
How Does This Develop?
Scleroderma would usually start of in the skin in the form of calcinosis or Raynaud’s phenomenon. If it sticks with those symptoms, then that case of scleroderma is most likely limited scleroderma or CREST which is the milder form of the illness. Although this can disable, it would tend most of the time not to be fatal. However, if it spreads to the internal organs, the kidneys in particular, then that would be the beginning of scleroderma renal involvement.
The connective tissues in the kidneys are the ones that are primarily involved in scleroderma. Scleroderma causes scar tissue to develop in them, thus making them thicker. This also limits blood flow to the kidneys that in turn could impair or actually kill some parts of the kidney or the kidney itself. This could also lead to heart complications that in sever cases, could lead to heart failure.