Pemphigus Vulgaris (PEMM-fig-uss vull-GAR-iss) is an exceedingly painful autoimmune skin disease. A rare condition, pemphigus vulgaris affects nearly 50,000 people worldwide.
Men and women of all ages suffer from pemphigus vulgaris. It usually appears in middle-aged adults and seniors, but affects children as well.
Pemphigus vulgaris is part of a group of blistering skin diseases that includes bullous pemphigoid, pemphigus foliaceus, dermatitis herpetiformis, and erythema multiformes. It is, however, distinct from these conditions.
Symptoms of Pemphigus Vulgaris
Pemphigus vulgaris symptoms include blistering skin lesions and sores that weep, ooze, and peel. These blisters can rupture, leaving open wounds that increase the risk of serious skin infections and sepsis (an infection of the blood). Oral pemphigus vulgaris sores can form on the inside of the mouth, making it very difficult to eat and drink. This may result in severe dehydration for those suffering from this rare skin disease.
Symptoms may occasionally disappear, however, the painful blisters and skin rashes will usually return if untreated, as pemphigus vulgaris is a chronic skin condition. Discomfort is an unfortunate fact of life for those with this autoimmune skin disease.
Causes of Pemphigus Vulgaris
Pemphigus vulgaris is one of many autoimmune diseases of the skin. When functioning properly, your immune system protects you by fighting illnesses, tumours and infections. If you have pemphigus vulgaris, your immune system targets your skin, causing these painful blisters that can form anywhere on the body.
Research studies suggest pemphigus vulgaris is a genetic disease. As a result, if parents or other family members are affected, you may be at a higher risk of developing pemphigus vulgaris compared with the general population.
Treatment of Pemphigus Vulgaris
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for pemphigus vulgaris. Dermatologists, however, are working to expand treatment options for this rare skin disease.
Clinical trials are underway to see if newly developed medications can improve the health and quality of life of those with pemphigus vulgaris.
Ongoing pemphigus vulgaris research is extremely important, as the infections associated with this autoimmune skin disease can be fatal. There is, therefore, an urgent need for new medications and improved treatment strategies, as traditionally available pemphigus vulgaris treatments have been shown to produce serious side-effects and in some cases be ineffective.