Cutis laxa is a very rare connective tissues disorder which can be either inherited or acquired. If you are within a family with cutis laxa syndrome disorder, you can be more susceptible to the disease compared to those who are not. However, people without this history can be exposed to the disorder by acquiring it. Different types of cutis laxa affect different people and might show variety of symptoms.
Types of cutis laxa
Inheritance cutis laxa can be differentiated into several types, such as:
- Occipital Horn Syndrome (OHS)
- OHS is very rare worldwide.
- Symptoms commonly occur in early stage of life, including cutis laxa, skeletal problems, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular problems. This type of cutis laxa might also involve abdominal issues, such as hernia.
- OHS is often accompanied by muscle weakness and may include mental retardation.
- Affect only males.
- Autosomal Dominant Cutis Laxa (ADCL)
- Symptoms usually occur anytime between birth and early adulthood.
- Inherited features within the family include nose and ears, cardiovascular, and pulmonary problems.
- Both males and females are susceptible to this type of cutis laxa.
- Autosomal Recessive Cutis Laxa (ARCL)
- Includes six different subtypes which affect different parts of the body and show variety of symptoms.
- Pulmonary, cardiovascular, digestion, urinary, gastrointestinal systems and appearance might be affected.
- Affect both males and females.
- Gerodermia Osteodysplasticum (GO)
- Occurs in babies and young children.
- Affects mostly the skin, causing prematurely-aged skin appearance.
- Face, hands, feet, and stomach are affected.
- Might affect pulmonary and cardiovascular systems.
Acquired Cutis Laxa
Although often assumed as an inherited disorder, cutis laxa might also be acquired. Hence, there are a number of people who encounter the symptoms without having a family hereditary of cutis laxa syndrome. This shows the phenomenon of an acquired cutis laxa that mostly affects older adult rather than young children and babies.
The exact cause of an acquired cutis laxa is unknown, yet some risk factors are believed to trigger the occurrence of this autoimmune disorder in someone’s adulthood. These include:
- Reduced elastic fibers among the skin tissues.
This causes the skin to become less elastic, occurring in the skin which has less ability to restore its normal shape whenever stretched.
- Previous extensive inflammatory skin diseases, such as eczema, blistering eruption, and erythema multiforme.
Inflammatory skin diseases might affect the structure of skin tissues, including its connective tissues. Thus, people suffering from these diseases for a long period, especially if the disease tends to always reoccurs, will be more susceptible to an acquired cutis laxa.
- Hypersensitivity to penicillin, antibiotics, and other drugs.
Some drugs are potential in causing inflammatory to the skin cells and tissues, which in longer period may affect its elasticity and cell damages. Allergies reactions toward these substances may trigger the occurrence of an acquired cutis laxa.
An acquired cutis laxa is often associated with certain diseases, which makes the patients of mentioned diseases more prone to an acquired cutis laxa. The list includes:
- Inflammatory skin diseases
- Systemic lupus
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hematologic diseases
- Gastrointestinal system dysfunctions
- Rectal and vaginal prolapse
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Congestive heart failure
- Aortic aneurysms
- Celiac diseases
Hence, if you are suffering from the listed diseases, it is better to check whether you are developing the cutis laxa. This disorder can be checked through a blood test and a consultation to an experienced dermatologist and internist.
Although the skin disorder in associated with numbers of diseases, the main symptom can be recognized, as most cutis laxa patients experience visible deep skin folds developing on facial areas or the areas with limited exposure to sunlight.
Is acquired cutis laxa curable?
Similar to the inherited cutis laxa, an acquired cutis laxa is not fully curable. It may be difficult for the patients developing this disorder from other diseases to eliminate the effects completely. With an acquired cutis laxa, reoccurrence is still possible. However, a consultation with a dermatologist will let you know the type of cutis laxa you are acquiring. An internist, furthermore, will let you know what parts of your body are affected by this autoimmune syndrome. He then will be able to give you an advice on what treatments to be taken. Mostly, an acquired cutis laxa can be treated with plastic surgery, especially if the folds and skin inelasticity affect the visible areas, such as the facial skin.