Sweet'S Syndrome

1 What is Sweet's Syndrome?

Sweet syndrome, or acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis, is a rare form of skin condition characterized by fever and reddish lesions on the skin. 

The small, tender lumps on the skin usually appears on the hands, neck, shoulder, and trunk. This skin disorder can be completely cured by using corticosteroid medications. In some cases, the lesions may recur.

2 Symptoms

Small, reddish lesions on the skin are the most common symptoms of sweet's syndrome. The reddish bumps often appear after a fever or respiratory tract infection. The person may feel tired or weak. Joint and muscle pain, ulcers in mouth, and sore eyes are also characteristic of this condition. 

The lumps on the skin may range from small (5-10 mm) to large. In some cases the papules may join together to form plaques. Sudden appearance of rashes that spread is a warning symptom of this syndrome.

3 Causes

The actual cause of sweet's syndrome is not known. In some cases it is seen associated with certain infections, tumors, cancer, illness, and certain medications. It is commonly associated with cancer like leukemia, breast and colon cancer

Certain factors increase the risk of sweet syndrome. It is more commonly found in women in the age group of 30 - 50 years. Pregnancy and upper respiratory tract infection also increases the chances of developing sweet syndrome. 

Sensitivity to certain medications like antibiotics, granulocyte colony stimulating factor, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may increase the risk of this syndrome.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Doctors usually diagnose sweet's syndrome during physical examination of the symptoms. Other tests are recommended to differentiate the symptoms from other conditions. Biopsy of the affected skin sample shows the presence of characteristic changes in the cells. 

Neutrophil is also characterized by the presence of high levels of neutrophils. Blood tests help to identify the levels of these blood cells for a confirmatory diagnosis of sweet syndrome. Imaging techniques like X-ray are used to identify the underlying medical condition, if any. 

If the patient is on a risk-elevating medication, doctor may recommend stopping of the same to ascertain its role.

5 Treatment

In some cases, sweet syndrome resolves on its own without any specific treatment. The most common medication used in the treatment of this skin condition is the corticosteroid prednisone. Symptoms resolve within a few days of starting the treatment, but may recur in some. 

Corticosteroids may be used in topical form or injections. Topical applications of corticosteroids are equally effective in controlling the symptoms, but may have side effects like thinning of skin. For those who have a small number of less scattered lesions, corticosteroids can be injected into the lesions. But this may not be recommended for those who have widespread lesions. 

Some people may not be able to tolerate corticosteroid medications for a long-term. In such case, alternative medications like potassium iodide, dapsone, Indocin, cyclosporine, and colchicine are prescribed. 

If there is an underlying medical problem, treating the same helps in resolving the symptoms. For recurrent sweet syndrome, treatment is repeated until the symptoms are relieved. For persistent form of the skin condition, maintenance therapy is used. 

6 Prevention

As the root cause of the condition is not known, there are no steps for the prevention of this sweet syndrome. Take good care of the skin and minimize damage. Avoiding prolonged sun exposure helps to prevent recurrences of sweet syndrome.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

A few alternative and homeopathic remedies exist for managing the symptoms of sweet's syndrome.

Herbal extracts and almond oil are used as topical applications to relieve the symptoms of sweet syndrome.

Holistic treatment method uses both herbal extracts and homeopathic remedies to expel the causative object from the body.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Being an active participant in the treatment of sweet's syndrome helps in coping with this skin condition.

One can also be a part of the support group to discuss and understand more about the disease and the treatment methods.

9 Risks and Complications

Infection of the skin lesion is the most common complication associated with sweet's syndrome.

When the condition is associated with cancer, appearance of red bumps on the skin may be a symptom of the underlying disease.

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