What is it?

Scleroderma means hard skin. It is a group of diseases that cause abnormal growth of connective tissue. Connective tissue is the material inside your body that gives your tissues their shape and helps keep them strong. In scleroderma, the tissue gets hard or thick. It can cause swelling or pain in your muscles and joints.
There are two types of Scleroderma: localized, which affects mainly the skin, and systemic that can affect the skin and organs inside the body, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, and digestive system.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Lipodermatosclerosis
- Progressive systemic sclerosis
- Systemic sclerosis induced by drugs and chemicals

Signs & symptoms

The symptoms vary between the two types of scleroderma, and between people.
In localized scleroderma patches of your skin will become thick and firm. It may affect your hands, fingers, legs and face.
In systemic sclerosis, in addition to the symptoms mentioned above, you may suffer from Raynaud's phenomenon, a narrowing of blood vessels in the hands or feet that causes it to turn white or blue, swelling of the esophagus, the tube between your throat and stomach and stiff joints.


Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. He or she will perform a physical exam and look for changes in your skin and joints.
Further test might be needed in order to reach a final diagnosis:
-Blood test for specific antibodies
-Biopsy- a small sample of your skin will be removed and examined under the microscope


There is no cure for the disease, but various treatments can control symptoms and complications:
- Mediations to reduce swelling and joint pain
- Physical therapy to improve strength and help with the pain

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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