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Pemphigoid and Pemphigus

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space placeholder.What Is It?.
space placeholder.Symptoms.
space placeholder.Diagnosis.
space placeholder.Expected Duration.
space placeholder.Prevention.
space placeholder.Treatment.
space placeholder.When To Call a Professional.
space placeholder.Prognosis.
space placeholder.Additional Info.
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space placeholder.What Is It?
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Pemphigoid and pemphigus are similar diseases. Both are rare and both are serious diseases that need to be followed carefully. They are caused by the body's immune system not working properly.

Both diseases cause mouth blisters that break easily, and then form painful sores (ulcers). In about half of all cases, blisters and ulcers develop later on the skin, too. Sores on the skin may come and go.

Pemphigus is a rare disease. It occurs mostly in middle-aged and older people, but may occur at any age. There are several types of pemphigus. The most common is pemphigus vulgaris, which makes up 80% of all pemphigus cases. It is seen most often in people of Mediterranean descent and in Eastern European Jews. However, it can affect people of all races and cultures.

There are also several types of pemphigoid. The oral form is known as mucus membrane pemphigoid. It is most common in women between ages 40 and 70. There are no other known risk factors for pemphigoid.

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space placeholder.Symptoms
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The most common symptom of both oral pemphigus and oral pemphigoid is blisters in the mouth. They break and become painful ulcers. The ulcers can last for long periods of time. As some heal, others may develop.

People with pemphigus often develop these sores first in the throat or mouth. The sores can occur anywhere in the mouth. People with pemphigoid tend to have sores only on their gums. Their sores are flat and red, and peel easily.

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space placeholder.Diagnosis
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To diagnose pemphigus and pemphigoid, your doctor will ask you for a complete medical history. Then you will receive a physical exam, blood tests and a biopsy of the affected area. First, the area is numbed with a local anesthetic. Then the doctor removes a small piece of tissue, which will be examined under a microscope. Information from the biopsy can show if you have pemphigoid, pemphigus or some other condition.

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space placeholder.Expected Duration
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Pemphigus and pemphigoid cannot be cured. Medicines can control the sores and keep them from appearing.

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space placeholder.Prevention
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There is no way to prevent pemphigus or pemphigoid.

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People with pemphigus are treated by suppressing the immune system. This is done with steroids and other medicines. These medicines help control the sores, but they can have significant side effects. Your doctor will discuss the side effects with you.

People with pemphigoid also may be given steroids. Other medicines can be given if steroids don't work. These include dapsone, tetracycline (sold under many brand names) and nicotinamide (a form of niacin).

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space placeholder.When To Call a Professional
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If you have any of these symptoms and they do not go away after three to seven days, call your doctor.
  • Sores or blisters on your skin or in your mouth
  • Peeling gums
  • Eye irritation
  • Sore throat
  • Painful mouth sores that make it hard to eat (this may lead to weight loss)

If you have been diagnosed with pemphigus or pemphigoid in the past, call your doctor if your condition has changed.

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space placeholder.Prognosis
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Pemphigus and pemphigoid are long-term diseases. They are not cured, but they usually can be controlled. In people with oral pemphigoid, the sores often become only a nuisance. Pemphigus vulgaris, however, is potentially life threatening. In the past, pemphigus vulgaris could lead to whole-body infections and/or chemical imbalances in the blood. These problems can be fatal. Today, pemphigus can be better controlled and rarely causes deaths.

However, complications can still occur because of the high doses of some medicines used to control the sores. It is very important that you inform all health care professionals of all the medicines you take. This should include over-the-counter medicines and "natural" medicines and vitamins. All of these can affect your health.

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space placeholder.Additional Info
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The International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation
2701 Cottage Way, #16
Sacramento, CA 95825
Phone: 916-922-1298
Toll-free: 1-866-628-1298
Fax: 916-922-1458
E-Mail: info@pemphigus.org


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