What is scleroderma?
When a person has scleroderma, the body makes too much collagen. This excess collagen, the substance that holds our body together, causes hardening and tightening.
Most people have hardening and tightening on their skin. Scleroderma means “hard skin.” But this disease can affect more than the skin. Joints, muscles, and even internal organs like the kidneys and lungs can harden and tighten.
Many people who have scleroderma lead normal – or almost normal – lives.
There is no cure for scleroderma, but treatment can help reduce the effects of this disease.
Signs and Syptoms:
- Hard, thickening, or tight skin
- Hair loss and less sweating
- Dry skin and itch
- Skin color changes
- Salt-and-pepper look to the skin
- Stiff joints and difficulty moving them
- Muscle shortening and weakness
- Loss of tissue beneath the skin
- Bone may not grow as it should
- Sores and pitted scars on the fingers
- Calcium deposits beneath the skin
- Visible blood vessels
If you have hard, thickened skin, a dermatologist may perform a skin biopsy to help diagnose you. This is a fast-and-easy test that your dermatologist can perform during an office visit.