Autoimmune disorders are diseases produced by
the body’s own immune or defense system. This occurs through the high quantity
production of various substances involved in combating foreign substances (e.g.
bacteria, viruses, and other foreign proteins). This excess production of
certain substances injures the cells of the individual defense system and
upsets the “healthy” equilibrium of the body.
Symptoms affected organs
Autoimmune diseases manifest themselves in many
- Cutaneous diseases: bullous disorders (medical terminology: pemphigus, pemphigoid, epidermis bullosa acquisita, and more)
- Inflammation of cutaneous vessels (medical terminology: vasculitis)
- Joint syndromes: these are called skin disorders of the rheumatoid type (medical terminology: lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, dermatomyositis, and others)
- Graft-versus-host disease of the skin
The affected areas of the skin are reddened, painful, or itchy.
- Careful clinical examination to determine whether
there are substances in excess quantity deposited within the skin, and what
- Immunofluorescence examination to look for evidence of immune deposits in the skin
- Immune serologies (in collaboration with the Department of Immunology, University Hospital Zurich, and
the Institute of Clinical Chemistry) for diagnosis
External treatment of the affected skin areas with creams, gels (corticosteroids, preparations to protect against UV radiation or topicals for wound care)
Oral medications to reduce excess production of trigger substances:
- Corticosteroids, methotrexate, azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, Immunoglobulin, extracorporeal photopheresis
- General measures (counseling regarding avoidance of disease precipitants as well as the adjusting of life style according to disease activity)
We work closely with the Department of Immunology, University Hospital Zurich, for interdisciplinary cross-specialty discussion of difficult cases in order to
determine optimal therapeutic management for affected patients.