- Skin Hardened or thickening
- Spontaneous scarring & Heartburn
- Cold fingers/toes that turn red/white/blue
- Varying degrees of inflammation
- Painful or swollen joints & Diarrhea
- Ulcers or sores on fingertips
- Small red spots on the face and chest
- Puffy or swollen or painful fingers/toes
- Muscle weakness & Weight Loss
- Dry eyes or mouth Shortness of breath
Scleroderma - Overview
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder of connective tissue. Autoimmune diseases occur when body's tissues are attacked by its own immune system. This disease is characterized by the formation of scar tissue in the skin. This leads to firmness and thickness of the affected skin. It may also occur in the internal organs like kidney. Thia autoimmune disease is classified as widespread or localized (systemic scleroderma with a tendency to affect internal organs). Systemic scleroderma is further divided into limited & diffuse based upon the extent of skin involvement.
Causes of Scleroderma
The exact cause of Scleroderma is not known. Researchers have found that certain genes are important hereditary factors, but environment also plays an important role. The result is activation of the immune system in a susceptible individual, causing damage to the inner lining of tiny blood vessels and injury to tissues which leads to scar tissue formation and accumulation of excess collagen.