Eosinophilic fasciitis is a very rate syndrome in which muscle tissue under the skin, called fascia, becomes swollen and thick. The hands, arms, legs, and feet can swell quickly.
The disease may look similar to scleroderma but is not related.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The cause of eosinophilic fasciitis is unknown. In people with this condition, white blood cells called eosinophils, build up in the muscles and tissues. Eosinophils are linked to allergic reactions. The syndrome is more common in people ages 30 to 60.
- Bone pain or tenderness
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Muscle weakness
- Tenderness and swelling of the arms, legs and sometimes the joints
- Thickened skin that looks puckered
Signs and tests
Tests that may be done include:
- Gamma globulins (a type of immune system cell)
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
- Muscle biopsy
- Skin biopsy
Corticosteroids and other immune-suppressing medicines are used to relieve symptoms. These medicines are more effective when started early in the disease. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also help reduce symptoms.
In most cases, the condition goes away within 3 to 5 years. However, symptoms may last longer or come back.
Arthritis is a rare complication of eosinophilic fasciitis. Some people may develop very serious blood disorders or blood-related cancers, such as aplastic anemia or leukemia. The outlook is much worse if blood diseases occur.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this disorder.
There is no known prevention.
Lee LA, Werth VP. The Skin and Rhematic Diseases. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Gabriel SE, et al, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2012:chap 43.
Last reviewed 3/22/2013 by Ariel D. Teitel, MD, MBA, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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